By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
It’s not so hard to recount all the many times Chicago Bulls commentator Stacey King chanted “too fast, too strong, too good” in reaction to the most dominant of plays Derrick Rose made in the eight years he represented his hometown team.
Three years since his difficult departure from Chicago, shipped out to New York to try find some sort of stability in the NBA again, Rose is finally playing again like its 2012.
A year hasn’t passed since the 2016 trade where Rose hasn’t come back to the United Center, but he’s done so in more jerseys now (four) than complete rotations around the sun. But there was something about this most recent return, this time as a Detroit Piston Friday night.
D-Rose looks as healthy as he’s looked since he only belonged to Chicago and in a tight contest against his former team he showed more of the polish and efficient offensive form of the MVP that once made it seem like Chicago was on the verge of more championship success post-Mike and the ’90’s Dynasty.
We’ve seen all this before — his speed wasn’t to be matched, explosive to the point of being unguardable and his quickness with the ball was swift. Scoring 23 points with 7 assists off the bench while shooting 61 percent from the field, Rose couldn’t help but evoke some good memories among the United Center crowd, even if he was doing it now with the wrong jersey on. The “M-V-P” chants came easily, once again nothing mattered in the NBA according to Chicago than the exploits of our one and only “Pooh.”
He’s returned to become a feel-good story for much of the league, but the NBA may have to start squaring up with Rose again or get left behind. Averaging 20 points and 6 assists on 55% from the field with Detroit, his performance last night and in the opening weeks of this season, has not only been refreshing to see, but more importantly, its been inspiring.
D-Rose’s multi-layered story has always been motivating even when its been frustrating. Between his growing up on the South Side to becoming the youngest MVP in league history, Rose taught us that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but how you get to where you want to go. Just like Rose, there will always be tests for us to pass and endure during our journeys to success.
In those trying moments, it is from those trying times we must learn to grow and embrace the trials to prepare us for the biggest stages of our journey. Rose has demonstrated that lesson for us during his time of struggle, suffering numerous season ending injuries and bouncing around from team to team.
After breaching a destiny as a forgotten talent from the past, today, Rose is relevant again to basketball fans all over. Specifically, to Chicago fans, he’s teaching another lesson: no matter the journey, you can always rise up from the bottom and blossom like a Rose, and within your journey, never forget where you came from.
Pooh persevered through those trying times and got himself back to full health, showing the NBA that he can still play at an elite level and is now arguably the top backup point guard in the league.
Overcoming many odds has become a constant theme of Rose’s and no matter what, through his ups and downs, he never forgot his hometown and he always given back to the city. For those who don’t understand the love he gets whenever he returns, who don’t understand the calls for his jersey to hang atop the United Center, start there and better understanding will come.
There is more to life than sports. For Rose, it was about finding happiness and contentment, something he was able to find in Detroit.
“It was a lot of circumstances that I was put in and I had to weave through to find the place that I’m in right now, which is what you see the happiness,” Rose told ESPN.com’s Eric Woodyard.
“I’ve got my family now, I’ve got three kids, I’m happy with where I’m at right now, the destination I’m at right now and I’m just trying to take everything in and learn every day and be appreciative of where I’m at.”
The answer is simple, and all you had to do was watch the crowd’s reaction when he first stepped onto the floor. Behind the individual accolades, All-Star appearances and playoff memories, Rose stands as the best thing to happen to the Bulls in the post-Jordan/Scottie Pippen era.
Visited by former teammate and good friend Joakim Noah, his performance back in the Windy City showed us that he may not be the same D-Rose we all fell in love with during his time with the Bulls, but his story will forever be a story the league and this city needs.
And one day, a proper reunion will occur and when that time comes, we’ll walk into the United Center with a “Thank You” tribute video providing all the memories that made all the struggle worth it, as we watch the No. 1 jersey being raised to the rafters. A conclusion well-deserved for the hometown kid who’s never forgot us.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media