Derrick Rose Blooms in Chicago
Old 11-29-2008, 01:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Derrick Rose Blooms in Chicago


Derrick Rose is learning how he can help his city as he dreams about where he can take his game.

Englewood is right there on the arm.

Derrick Rose knows the corner where the killings took place. Two years ago, he might have walked past it on the way to shooting hoops in the nearby park. But now he's taking free throws at the Bulls practice facility 33 miles north in the calm suburb of Deerfield, the sound of his NBA debut the night before still ringing in his ears:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, from Chicago … "

The Bulls used to have a thing against drafting hometown kids. There are enough distractions for a rookie without the added pressure of regularly playing in front of friends and family. But Rose is the prodigal son of Englewood, the baby-faced point guard whose public school career garnered as much attention as the post-Jordan Bulls. And thanks to a remarkable twist of fate—a 1.7 percent chance that Chicago could get the top pick in the draft—he's been delivered back to his city.

The street cynics don't know what to think. They're so beaten down by gang violence they can't imagine optimism. It would be a lot easier for them if Rose screwed up. Crashed a car. Turned the town against him. Who could blame him for not being able to handle the expectations? Even Barack Obama calls him "The Man."

But Rose isn't about to hand anyone a reason to doubt him, or doubt Englewood, which he has tattooed on his left forearm. At Simeon High School, he won all but 12 of his 132 games. Then he went to Memphis and helped the Tigers to a 38-2 season. (He still winces at the mention of helping Kansas win the NCAA title when he missed one of two free throws with 10.8 seconds left in OT.) When he was drafted by the Bulls, Memphis coach John Calipari warned his rookie counterpart, Vinny del Negro: "Tell that kid he's not going to win 82 games. Because he doesn't know that. He's never had a losing streak."

And he's not about to lose Englewood if he can help it, not when he has a chance to show those kids in the killing fields that there's another way.

"When I was 10, I didn't know a neighborhood greater," Rose says. "If you had a fight it was just fists. At the park, it was just positive stuff. Now, it's crazy. You have kids dropping out of school at 13 and everyone has a gun. They don't care who's around when they go shooting."

Just being a rookie in the NBA is hard enough. Try being a rookie who wakes every morning to learn the neighborhood that raised you up is going down.

Rose has, for the most part, been upbeat about his experience thus far. But every so often, he reveals a rare glimpse into the pressure he feels—the pressure to lead. On a trip to Boston, watching Kevin Garnett electrify the Garden caused Rose to analyze himself. "I have to be more emotional on the court, talk a little bit more, yell," he said in the locker room afterwards. "It's so hard for me. I don't know why."

He was dressing while he spoke, revealing a body of tattoos that tells his journey out of Englewood. The front of his chest features a rose and the phrase Family First. The small of his back has the words God's Child. A wizard cradling a basketball rests on his left shoulder, alongside his nickname, Poodini. Below that is etched Englewood All-Star. And the first one he ever got, Only God Can Judge Me, rests on his right bicep.

Then there is the one he hasn't finished. It's a portrait of two hands cradling a baby and it spreads across his abdomen. He already knows what he wants the caption to say: A different breed.

Some in Englewood are beyond saving. Rose knows this first-hand. "They see me doing good but they think hanging onto the street hustling will get them a better job," he says. "I got a couple of friends back there still like that."

But there is still a chance to make the younger ones see their neighborhood through those Rose-colored glasses. "They just need to believe in themselves like I believed."

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Last edited by Windex; 11-29-2008 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 11-29-2008, 01:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
is dead inside

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I thought Bealy or Mayo would've been way better than him but this guy is just on another level. He can do everything, he is basically carrying this team. I believe he will become a really good player in the future
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
ball movement dammit

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Rose is sick. Ever since i saw his first game with Chicago he became one of my favourite players. Rose can be an amazing player in 3-4 years of time.
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He's already the best player on the team. 19 ppg is second on the team and he has 6 apg.

The Bulls didn't think Rose would develop this quickly now they're looking to help him with an inside presence on the team

Rose is already the franchise
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