Through ups and downs, Derrick Rose
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP
To Derrick Rose,
Man, I don’t know where to start. I have always thought of writing a letter to you, but I never imagined it would be about a 50-point game on Halloween night. You literally dressed up as the vintage Derrick Rose, turned back the clock, and channeled your inner 2011 MVP form.
Generally speaking, many people have counted you out since injuries shattered your career. Knowing that you cannot be as explosive as you were before, knowing that you’re as vulnerable as you could ever be, and knowing that many people stopped believing in you—fans, coaches, players, friends—I had a hard time accepting your situation. People started saying you can no longer be the player you used to be.
But here you are, dropping 50 on a regular season game against a tough Utah Jazz team. I don’t know what’s it like to break my knees, or what’s it like to undergo millions of arduous rehabs, and how it feels when people consider you a one-and-done player. And more than these things, I don’t know how it’s like to keep a positive mental attitude in spite of all the criticisms.
I was watching the Minnesota Timberwolves’ game at home because I was fascinated to see their throwback jerseys—until you stole the spotlight.
Cutting to the basket, shifting directions, dishing, and a three-point shot to reach a new career-high—man, I shouted. I suddenly remembered your ferocious drives to the basket and how I imitated your acrobatic lay-ups. I even bought a poster of you dunking on Goran Dragic the same length as my bedroom wall, had it framed, and started buying different jersey designs of your Chicago Bulls uniform.
After the game, you were in tears. And so was the whole basketball world. Despite becoming a mere journeyman, you still held onto the thought that you still got it. You showed everyone that giving up was not an option. You were able to overcome the mental hurdles and physical struggles you’ve faced in the last couple of years. You showed that there is still more left in your tank. You didn’t put your head down, instead, like what you just said in the post-game interview, “I worked my ass off, man.”
A new breed of guards has risen throughout your roller coaster ride. Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard. More reason for people to embrace your irrelevance. I never thought of you as a player whose career was nothing but a short fairytale. I have always believed that a dying Rose will bloom once again in the right garden—and so you did.
Thank you, Derrick. Thank you for being such a great example to everyone who’s this close to giving up. Thank you for showing that it’s not about how many times you get knocked down in life, that it’s about how many times you get up and keep going. Thank you for being you. You are an inspiration, Mr. Rose.
Without a doubt, this day will go down as one of the best stories in the history of basketball and sports in general. Windy City Assassin is back!