Unfortunately, D-Rose wasn’t able to start defending his MVP against the Dallas Mavericks last night, but he’s still in the running for another major honor: Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year award.
As K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has been nominated as a finalist for Sports Illustrated’s prestigious Sportsman of the Year award.
According to the magazine, the award — whose past winners include Jack Nicklaus, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and Tom Brady — is “presented annually to the person/team who has excelled in athletic performance and demonstrated great character.”
Rose was nominated by SI senior writer Lee Jenkins, who recently had a great many nice things to say about Derrick, including the following key paragraphs:
Many NBA players develop one aspect of their craft every year. Rose built three, growing an outside shot, a commitment to defense and a thirst for contact. Yet still he sat in the back of meeting rooms during film sessions muttering: “My bad … my fault … my mistake … sorry about that … I’ll get better at that.” When he missed game-winning free throws against the Clippers, he insisted on being the one to shoot free throws the next day at practice, so he could make them and spare his teammates wind sprints. “There’s no one in the league like this,” said Bulls center Joakim Noah, referring not to Rose’s speed and strength, but his humility and grace.
In an era of self-promotion, Rose does not tweet. He lives in a townhouse with his high-school buddies and drives a pick-up. When I profiled Rose last winter, and congratulated him on his recent success, he looked down at his Adidas and muttered: “Yeah, I wish.” A lot of players emerge as stars in the span of one season. Few are unaffected by their ascent, yet when Rose struggled in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals, he apologized to his teammates at halftime.
Beyond his seemingly endless array of jaw-dropping highlights and last season’s on-court accomplishments — which, make no mistake, were no small part of earning him this nomination — Rose’s dedication to his craft coupled with his incredible (and virtually unprecedented) humility mark him as a unique and special star among stars. Not just in the NBA, but across any sport, all sports.
I guess what I’m saying is: Rose would be a great, great choice for this award.
SI will announce the winner on December 6.