Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Derrick Rose: More than powerful
By Henry Abbott
Howard Smith/US Presswire
These moments dazzle, but are only part of the story.
The story of Derrick Rose is one of ferocity. He powers his way to the hoop, and once there, jumps over people and dunks.
In one recent ad campaign, he was portrayed as a bull. Not a Chicago Bull, but an actual bull, weaving his way through the bullfighting ring.
Spellbinding. Thrilling. Powerful beyond belief. And all true: He really is that strong, that fast, that kind of overwhelming force.
But the power he can generate with his quads is, to me, only a tiny part of what makes Rose one of the most admirable players in the NBA.
The rest of the story is one of the best in sports, and by comparison, a total secret.
The story is that he's all about his teammates, his coach and winning. He really is a superstar, and he really has just about zero ego. That's no bull, that's a unicorn. As in one-of-a-kind, if it exists at all.
Going into Sunday's All-Star game Rose laughed at the idea that he might be the MVP of the game, saying there was "no way."
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James ... they taught us a lot about how MVPs talk. But they didn't teach us anything about this. Self-deprecation? Isn't that just for losers?
Apparently not, 'cause Rose keeps winning. Meanwhile, a lot of those kinds of Rose comments simply get ignored, because they simply don't fit the script.
Meanwhile, Rose's teammates love him, fight through walls (and picks) for him, and win in part out of wanting good things for him. The value of those relationships is off the charts.
I'm looking forward to an ad campaign that features smiling teammates and ideas like what's in this quote, from Tom Thibodeau: "The beauty of his game is he studies what the team needs. If he feels like the team needs someone to distribute more, then that's what he'll do. If he feels like the team needs more scoring then that's what he'll do. ... You get to see him every day, you know how special he is."
The truth is, there are a lot of players who can run fast, jump high and dunk hard. But there are not a lot who can star on one of the most cohesive teams in NBA history, and those skills matter too, maybe more than anything.