|ESPN.com: Chicago Bulls||[Print without images]|
WASHINGTON -- Brenda Rose is never far from her son's mind. This truth was never more evident than earlier this summer when Brenda's youngest son, Derrick, got ready to go to play ball with the President at the White House. The Bulls' point guard was one of a select number of current and past All Stars who were invited to hang out at the White House and participate in a basketball game with President Barack Obama. When asked recently what he remembers most about that day in D.C., the 22 year-old Rose gives the kind of answer that every mother dreams of hearing.
"Talking to my mom," he said. "Letting her know that I was going to be in the White House soon. Just playing with the President, that was a memory that I will never forget."
He also won't forget her reaction when he told her that he was in Washington, D.C. all by himself on this special occasion.
"She was mad," Rose says now with a laugh. "She was actually mad because I told her I was there by myself. I thought [agent] BJ [Armstrong] was coming and I didn't have a guest there. And if I knew that he wasn't coming, I would have easily flown her in and flown her back to Orlando [for the NBA moms' meeting that Brenda was attending]. Hopefully, next year if he has another one, I'll probably be invited and she'll come visit me."
As much as Rose may have wanted his mom in attendance, he felt relieved by the fact that he wasn't really alone. He spent the entire day with his teammate, Joakim Noah, and Noah's mom, Cecilia Rodhe.
"That meant a lot," Rose said. "I didn't really need a guest there. [Joakim] and his mom, I was with them the whole time. His mom was crying because she was there. It was an emotional moment. Especially when we made it there. Everybody was just talking; you have Obama walking around like he's just regular. The President just walking everybody like a regular person. It was special."
Here are a few other special moments Rose recalled during our recent conversation about his day with the President:
On if Obama was by far and away the most famous person he's ever met: "By far. The next [most famous person] would probably be Will Smith."
Rose did not get a chance to play on the President's team, but he said he represented himself well.
"I played well. I was shooting the ball like I am now. I was shooting a lot of 3s during those games. We won most of our games so that was a good thing."
On what he thought we he received the invitation to play with Obama: "I got to get there. No matter what. I'm canceling whatever I got to do and I'm there. And I did cancel something to get there."
Rose said that the topic of free agency never came up with any of the other players.
"Everybody was just talking to everybody. Talking about the year. Talking about guy's stuff. It was just a fun experience talking to the kids, saying how crazy it was for us to be there. Talking about the media, saying how we couldn't bring our phones and stuff in. All that stuff was crazy."
Obama, however, did ask Rose and Noah about the free agency process. That was one of the topics of conversation when the famous picture of the three of them was taken.
"We were talking about free agency," Rose said. "We were just talking about the Chicago Bulls, just the history of [the team]. He was just saying that he was a fan. And he wishes nothing but the best, and hopefully we'll win this year, have a winning record this year. And all the things are going good now."