Last winter, I began to notice that Derrick Rose was becoming to the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago what Brett Favre was to the state of Wisconsin 1994-2008. They were deified, canonized, sacrosanct- deemed incapable of ever doing wrong in any sense. This is a dangerous path people.
I’ll admit I’ve hyped up Derrick Rose as much as possible…as a basketball player. I’ve done everything in my online power to draw cyber attention to the reigning NBA MVP for about four years. But every time I extolled his virtues, it was strictly in a basketball sense. That’s it! So Chicago really needs to take a step back and chillax a minute on the Rose worshiping.
We already have a cautious example to learn from:
Walter Payton. As Jeff Pearlman’s book revealed to us Payton was a man, not a saint. He had flaws and issues like everyone one of us; he wasn’t perfect.
During the playoffs last year, there was the nonstop “Rose came from Englewood- the roughest neighborhood in America” storyline in the multtimedia and it sickened me, because it wasn’t entirely fair and accurate. I never embraced this storyline because, having one-in-a-zillion physical gifts means he would have made it to the top no matter where he came from, and it sent the wrong message. You too can make it, if you have extraordinary physical gifts.
First is the false promise that many of these kids can grow up to be just like Rose. It is simply a fairy tale. Of all the kids in America who play high school basketball, about 3 percent end up getting college scholarships. Of that sliver, about 2 percent ever have a meaningful NBA career. Those are the facts — for baseball, basketball and football.
Now no one is going to deny the fact that Derrick Rose has a TOP NOTCH work ethic. He is a gym rat of gym rats. So he’s worked as hard as he can to develop those amazing natural gifts. But then again wouldn’t you in that situation? If you had a winning lottery ticket wouldn’t make sure you take good care of it and keep it in a safe place?
Then there’s what a Bulls cheerleader said to me at the Luvabulls final tryouts.
“Have you interviewed Derrick Rose? Met him? What’s he like?”
I said, “yes, he’s very good at delivering a pre-packaged, controlled message to the media. He’s very good at saying what his people want him to say.”
Obviously, this yielded a very puzzled look. However, that’s all I know of Derrick Rose, so that’s all I can judge him on. And it’s likely a helluva more than you know of him- so why do you treat him like he walks on water? And I really shouldn’t being singling him out, this applies to any superstar athlete.
The 23-year-old NBA MVP, who just signed a five-year, $94.8 million contract extension with his hometown Bulls, was mobbed by an estimated 8,000 fans who showed up at the mall to see him and his teammates. Extra police were called in for crowd control. Northbrook firefighters on scene were propositioned by frantic girls who said they would do unmentionable things if they could just touch the hem of Rose’s jacket. And, of course, the local news media have added to the Cult of Rose
Remember, he’s a man, a basketball player- not someone who can cure Aids and Cancer with the simple touch of his hand.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too
Filed under: Chicago Bulls
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