Thursday, January 28, 2010
Updated: January 29, 10:21 AM ET
Bulls' Rose selected to All-Star team
By Nick Friedell
Derrick Rose became the first Chicago Bulls player to make the All-Star Game since Michael Jordan was the All-Star MVP in 1998.
"I was stunned when I first got the call," Rose said. "I've been hearing stuff ever since this morning. People have been calling me. And when you finally hear it, you really don't believe it. It still hasn't really hit me like that, but I know when I get to Dallas that's when it will really hit me."
Rose added that he called his mother to let her know the news.
"I had to get off the phone with her," he said. "She started crying. I got off the phone with her and started calling all my relatives."
Jordan also weighed in on Rose's selection to the NBA All-Star Game.
"I'm very happy for him," Jordan told ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson. "The Bulls deserve an All-Star.
"He is a very special player. He will represent Chicago well. Congrats to him and the Bulls."
Rose is averaging 19.8 points and 5.9 assists for the resurgent Bulls (22-22), who have won four in a row. He was selected as an Eastern Conference reserve by the coaches.
"I want to thank the Eastern Conference head coaches for selecting me to represent the East," Rose said in a statement. "It's an honor to represent my hometown Bulls in the All-Star Game, and I couldn't have done it without my teammates.
"Basketball is a team game, and without them I would not be headed to Dallas."
Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said becoming an All-Star was one of the goals the team set for him, adding that Rose has put in the work to earn the honor.
"This is something he deserves," Del Negro said. "He's very humble. But he puts in the work every day and wants to get better. And this is great for not only himself, but the team and the organization. I'm just happy for him. I know how excited he is. And what he's accomplished in such a short period of time. Being No. 1 in the draft, being from Chicago, being rookie of the year and all the responsibility that goes with that. I think he's handled it very well and he's very deserving."
The second-year point guard struggled at times at the beginning of the season as he was recovering from an ankle injury. But the 21-year-old Chicago native has continued to progress and may be playing the best basketball of his young career. He's averaging 25.6 points in his last five games.
"Our entire organization is thrilled," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. "I know [Bulls owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf] is thrilled for Derrick. And really, everybody in our whole organization. We're proud of him.
"He's extremely deserving. It's great that all his hard work and dedication has paid off, especially at such a young age and only in his second year in the league. It's quite an honor for him. And, obviously, he represents our organization. But really, in a way, he represents the city of Chicago. Being from Chicago. I know our fans will be thrilled with [the announcement]. And we're just very happy for him. Happy for his family, who's been such a big part of his growth and his development. It's great."
Rose led Simeon High School to back-to-back state championships before taking Memphis to the NCAA title game as a freshman.
He was the No. 1 overall pick in 2008 and won Rookie of the Year honor by averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists.
The news was well received in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday afternoon in the dressing room of the Chicago Blackhawks, who were preparing to face the San Jose Sharks. Patrick Kane, the Hawks' 21-year-old star, met Rose during a promotion for the Harris Club, and Kane is impressed with Rose on and off the court.
"He seems like a pretty good guy, down to earth," Kane said. "He comes from a pretty tough area in Chicago, but he's obviously put himself in a pretty good position.
"He's doing real well with the Bulls. I love watching basketball, and he's probably one of the most entertaining players to watch. Obviously, I'm happy for a guy that young. I was in the position last year where in my second year in the league I got to make it to the All-Star Game, and it's good for him to go and do that, too."
ESPNChicago.com reporters Nick Friedell and Jesse Rogers contributed to this story.