Just two years ago, the Heat met the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals for a chance to go to the NBA finals. The series featured the marquee matchup of the Bulls Derrick Rose; the no nonsense hard worker who would do anything to win vs. the Heat’s LeBron James; the ultra-talented, but “soft” superstar. Oh… how things have changed in two years. Instead of the “LeBron isn’t tough enough to win a championship,” you’re now hearing “Derrick Rose is soft.” What a difference two years can make!
Derrick Rose tore his ACL nearly one year ago today. He’s gone through tough grueling rehab over the past year, but according to the Bulls team doctors, he’s been cleared to play. He’s been practicing with the team for close to a month now, but continues to be hesitant to give it a go. While it’s maddening as a Bulls fan to hear that Rose could play, you don’t want him to re-injure his knee. There are many instances where athletes rush back from injury just to suffer another injury in a different location on their body. A prime example is the White Sox Jake Peavy. He rushed back from an ankle injury which helped contribute to a lat problem.
The biggest thing going against Rose is the success Adrian Peterson had this year with the Vikings. Fans witnessed a player of D-Rose’s stature rush back from the same injury to win an MVP award. He went through the same grueling rehab and had instant success leading many Bulls fans to believe Rose could do the same thing.
Then there are the comparisons to players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. If Kobe or MJ would have suffered the same injury, there’s no doubt they would be playing right now. The Bulls have to accept that Rose isn’t in the same mold as these two superstars, but very few are. Rose is concerned about his future, and who can blame him. Jordan and Kobe didn’t care, and still don’t care about the “F” word. All they care about is winning games now.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning Derrick as a player, but today’s athletes are much different than our hero’s from the past. Today’s players are much more concerned about their future than the stars from the past decade. But to start to question Derrick’s competiveness is absolutely ridiculous. Chicago is lucky to have a player like Derrick Rose and we need to be supportive of him in these tough times. A player who attacks the rim with his ferocity isn’t a player who doesn’t want to win.
LeBron James has proved over the past two years the type of competitor he is. He plays through injury and sicknesses to go out and dominate every night. James has shown he’s the ultimate leader and the greatest basketball player in today’s game. All of the people (Cleveland fans) that questioned him year ago look like absolute idiots these days. When Rose returns, he will silence those same doubters and make the haters look like fools too. This is just one small blip on what promises to be a great career for the second greatest player to ever put on a Bulls uniform.