The Real D-Rose

By Connor Pignatello

When someone asks you who “D-Rose” is, make sure you tell them everything. Tell them about the little kid who loved to hoop, and would do anything to secure his dream to be a professional basketball player. Tell them about the teenager, who, on a longshot, returned home to play his favorite game in the middle of his favorite city. Tell them about the young man who experienced success so early in his career that the NBA Players Association had to make the “Derrick Rose Rule” so that the Bulls could give him the money he deserved. Tell them about the man who fought hard to regain his past form, even though his body betrayed him. Tell them about the grizzled vet, who took a veteran minimum salary just seven years after winning MVP.
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Tell them this: Derrick Rose was one of the best young talents the world has ever seen. He was highly recruited out of high school, and played for Memphis for one year in 2008. That year, Memphis was the runner-up in the NCAA tournament and Rose was their star. However, his time in Memphis did not come without scandal. He was accused of having someone take his SAT for him and the basketball program was levied with strong penalties, including the nullification of all their wins from that magical year.

Then, Rose headed to the NBA, where his hometown Chicago Bulls won the first overall pick, despite having just a 1.7% chance to win it. The Bulls selected Rose, and he immediately impressed everyone in the NBA. In 2008-09, Rose won Rookie of the Year. Each of the next three years, Rose was selected as an All-Star, including places in the starting lineup in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he became the youngest MVP in league history at just 22 years old, leading the Bulls to the best record in the NBA. Things were only looking up for the young star.

But then, tragedy struck. In the final minutes of a first round playoff game against the 76ers in 2012, Rose went up for a layup and came down hard, holding his left knee. It was discovered that he had torn his ACL, meaning he would miss the rest of the playoffs and spend all of the next season rehabilitating his injured knee. In 2013-14, Rose made his long-awaited return, but tore his meniscus in his right knee less than a month into the season. The next season, he tore the meniscus in his right knee again, and missed 20 games. But the Bulls still marched on to the playoffs, and in a vintage “D-Rose” moment, Rose electrified the Chicago crowd with a buzzer-beating three pointer against the Cavaliers.

Some thought D-Rose was back to his world-dominating ways, but alas, he was not. In 2015-16, Rose was not himself, and because of his poor play as well as Chicago’s new star Jimmy Butler, Rose found himself unwanted and unused. The locker room was toxic and the Bulls were struggling. But there were new possibilities for Rose.

In the summer of 2016, Rose was traded to the Knicks in a blockbuster deal. He would play for the Knicks for just one season, but would miss the final two weeks of the campaign due to a torn meniscus in his right knee. This past summer, Rose was a free agent, but the veteran had already undergone four knee surgeries in nine years and attracted little attention on the open market. Rose signed with the Cavaliers, but for just 1 year and $3.1 million, a far cry from the $21.3 million he made in 2016. Rose, a superstar from the past, ruined by injury and decline, is now relegated to the Cavs bench, in the rare moments that he is healthy. He was a true icon in his younger days. Now he is a sad reminder of what injuries can do to someone.

That is the story of Derrick Rose, a fallen hero from years past. He is no longer Chicago’s savior, but rather, a sixth man on a contending team. So, when someone asks you “Who is D-Rose?” make sure you tell them the whole story, and nothing less.

Bulls Picture Credit: By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Derrick Rose) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons