Friday, January 14, 2011
Bulls' Rose a staunch Bears supporter
By Nick Friedell
Derrick Rose said he once considered playing football, but the pace of the game and potential for playing in freezing weather convinced him to stay with basketball.
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose grew up in Chicago, but he never considered himself a Chicago Bears fan until this season.
Expect Rose to be rooting for the Bears when they host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in an NFC divisional playoff game.
"They turned me into a football fan," Rose said. "Where at first I really didn't like football, even when they went to the championship, the Super Bowl [in 2007] when I was younger.
"But now with me knowing a little bit about football, I have become one of the Bears fans."
Rose, a hard worker in his own right, can appreciate the way the Bears have proved doubters wrong all season.
"Their will to win games," he said, when asked what sets this team apart. "Where they have a lot going against them. With people saying, especially about Jay Cutler, that he's not as good of a quarterback as they want him to be or whatever. But it's hard in Chicago being a quarterback and I have a lot of respect for him."
The young point guard has a lot of respect for the type of effort that goes into becoming a professional football player. He thought about playing the game when he was younger, but decided against it.
"I wanted to be a receiver because I thought I was fast and I could jump a little bit, but it's hard, man," Rose said. "Knowing what conditions they have to play in, like the weather conditions. And to be able to not play for a minute and then come into the game and warm up ASAP, and run as fast as you could to catch a ball, with it being below zero and stuff like that, that's unbelievable."
Rose admits that the success that Cutler and the Bears are having, coupled with the Stanley Cup championship the Chicago Blackhawks won last summer, motivates him.
"I know the Blackhawks did something tremendous [last season] to inspire me to go out there and work harder when I was in L.A. [working out over the summer], just winning the championship," Rose said. "I wasn't there for the parade, but my mom and my girl was like sending me pictures of the parade and people cheering and stuff like that. While I was in L.A., that was one of the things that drove me."
The idea of seeing the Bears continue the winning ways in Chicago makes the thought of having another celebration in Grant Park seem more tangible than ever.
"I want to get back to that day," Rose said. "And just being one of the guys that put us back on the map."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.