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Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose admits the celebrity status that goes along with being the biggest star in his hometown makes him uncomfortable and "doesn't fit my personality."
"Sometimes it's too much," Rose told GQ Magazine in a story posted on its website Tuesday. "Chicago isn't used to stardom. Back when Michael [Jordan] was here, everyone was used to actors and singers and people being at the games. But there's been a drought since then, and even celebrities, they'll stop here to film a movie and then pop right back out. They don't know how to act toward celebrity. So I always have someone with me. I can have a hat on, glasses on, whatever. People still notice me. If I go outside without a hat on, I feel like I'm naked.
"... This life doesn't fit my personality."
Rose, who won two state titles at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, played one season at Memphis before his hometown Bulls made him the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft. The quiet and reserved point guard experienced immediate success, winning NBA Rookie of the Year and leading the Bulls to the playoffs. His profile -- locally and nationally -- has risen each year since with three NBA All-Star Game appearances, an impressive performance with Team USA in 2010, a 14-year endorsement deal with adidas worth a reported $250 million and an NBA MVP award last season at 22, making him the youngest recipient of the award in history.
Rose told GQ that the more success he has on the court, the tougher it gets for him to deal with his fame.
"Don't get me wrong, I don't take anything for granted," Rose, who signed a five-year contract extension worth as much as $95 million in December, told GQ. "But it seems like the better I play, the more attention I get. And I can't get away from it. You play great, you get attention. But I hate attention. It is weird. I'm in a bind. The more you win, the more they come."
For someone admittedly uncomfortable with public speaking, Rose has had to deal with constant questions about his steady stream of injuries during this lockout-shortened season. He missed his 24th game of the season Monday, a loss to the Washington Wizards, because of a sore right foot, his fifth different injury. His status for Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats is uncertain.
Rose has found some security from the attention high atop the city. Rose, who has a house in Northbrook, Ill., near the Bulls practice facility in Deerfield, recently purchased a condo on the 84th floor of the Trump building in Chicago for a reported $2.8 million.
"I like living here," Rose told GQ. "They just try to make you comfortable. The people here, they are mostly from out of town; they don't know who I am. That's why I picked this place."
Rose said he rarely goes out at night and looks forward to the few days he has to himself.
"It gets on my nerves that I just can't go out," he told GQ. "It's just boundaries now. People are like, 'You can't go here, you can't go there, you got to let that person know where you're going.' It's just weird. I'm never alone. Ever."
Although he has been back for community events through the Bulls, Rose figured it's been about a year since he has been to his old neighborhood in Englewood for a casual visit.
"I just remember being there my rookie year, going back and being parked outside my friend's house," Rose told GQ. "All of a sudden everybody within a couple of blocks just came to where I was. It was crazy. I appreciated it. I felt good. But you're not the same person, and that's what you've got to realize."
Chicago hasn't been as enraptured with a Bulls star since Jordan, who should know a thing or two about what Rose is feeling these days. But Rose said he relies on Jordan for motivation, not advice.
"I've run into him a couple of times, but we don't have a relationship," Rose told GQ. "His titles drive me. I'm not scared of him; if anything, it makes me work harder when I do train."