ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell recently got to ask Derrick Rose various questions about his long-range jumper (it’s coming along), the Bulls’ personnel moves this summer (thumbs up), and what he thinks about new coach Tom Thibodeau (another thumbs up).
However, Rose’s most telling comments were in response to whether he actively wants to be the centerpiece of the franchise:
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I want to be. That’s the point of playing the game. That’s the greatest thing right now. I came to a team where they didn’t make the playoffs, not for a couple of years. No one was really interested in the Bulls like that in Chicago, not like [it was]. And I’m making it back exciting. I’m from Chicago, it would mean a lot if I would just bring back one championship there. Or even get past the first round, the city would go crazy. So for me to even bring that team back to like the old days, it would mean so much to this city.”
And: “Yeah, I want to be that guy. I want to be that guy that does that.”
And: “Yeah, I want to be that guy. I want to be the reason why the Bulls are back to what they were 10, 12 years ago or something like that.”
You know, one storyline that got lost in all the hoopla surrounding the Super Friends of South Beach was how the decisions of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James affected Rose. If, say, Wade or James had come to Chicago, the Bulls would have gone from being Derrick’s team to being Derrick’s and Dwyane’s/LeBron’s team. Or maybe even Dwyane’s or LeBron’s team outright.
And just like that, Rose might have gone from being Batman to Robin. From The Lone Ranger to Tonto. From Peanut Butter to Jelly. From Michael to Scottie.
I mean, everyone wants to talk about how “The Decision” (and the decisions) affected the career arcs of the Super Friends, but what about the career arc of Derrick Rose? He is now and indefinitely The Man in Chicago. The Bulls are unquestionably his team. All the pressure, the weight of expectations, it’s all on him.
I’m not saying that Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah aren’t big time backup. And I’m not saying the Bulls don’t have other nice complimentary pieces in Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson. I’m just saying that the burden of responsibility for the team’s success now rests squarely on Rose.
And he’s not running from it. He wants that responsibility.
That’s pretty cool, right?. After all, if this summer taught us anything, it’s that some superstars (coughLeBroncough) either don’t want that burden or will eventually decide it’s too much for them to take. Right now, the Bulls have a young, enthusiastic superstar-in-waiting who wants to bring greatness back to the city. His city.
That’s a rare thing. And it’s getting rarer every day.