CHICAGO -- Playing in Memphis is always special to Derrick Rose.
After all, he went to school at the University of Memphis and in just one season became one of the most popular players in the program's history (even after the school had to vacate wins because of questions surrounding his eligibility). But Monday afternoon’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies is going to be even more special for Rose considering the holiday that he and his Chicago Bulls teammates will be playing on: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
"It means a lot," Rose said late Saturday night. "Returning back to my old [college] town, Memphis. A great city. I know it's going to be something special."
Rose said that when he was playing for Memphis, the team visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the site of the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
"It's very nice," Rose said. "We went when we were college students. I think Coach [John Calipari] took us there. It's super historic. [It] kind of makes you think about certain things when you go there ... just being there was something special."
Rose isn't the only player on the Bulls looking forward to being able to honor Dr. King.
"What [Dr. King] has meant to people as a whole is amazing," Carlos Boozer said. "It's a great honor to be able to play on his day. And great to honor him. I actually got a chance to see, this summer, see his monument that they put up in D.C. It's awesome, amazing. It's a huge honor because so many things that we're able to experience today, [came from] the movement back then. And he was in the forefront of the movement, so it's awesome. That's one of the people on my list I wish I would have had the chance to meet before he passed."