Most of us like a good comeback story, but what if the comeback isn’t coming back to what you used to be, instead of a transformation into a new version of yourself. Likely, most people wouldn’t accept a smaller, less prestigious role. But most people aren’t Derrick Rose. This article is going to examine why Rose is a modern-day hero.
He could’ve and probably should’ve given up. The youngest MVP in NBA history seemingly had superstardom in front of him. In 2011, he was the leader of an upstart Chicago Bulls team that would’ve likely made the NBA Finals if it wasn’t for LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Rose averaged 25 PPG, 7.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds during the regular season before losing Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But 2012 was supposed to be different; it was Chicago’s chance for redemption. And it appeared like the Bulls/Heat rematch was inevitable. Chi-town entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and Miami at No. 2, but then it happened.
In Game 1 of the first round with 1:22 left in the contest he took an awkward jump stop and flailed into the air.
He was never the same again.
The medical diagnosis was a torn ACL in his left knee; the basketball diagnosis was an athletic point guard’s worst nightmare. Before the injury, he was renowned as the most explosive point guard in the NBA. For those of you who didn’t get to see him play, think of a player with the bunnies of Russell Westbrook and the quickness of Ja Morant. Ya, it was like that.
However, most athletes can return from one ACL with a minimal decline in their athleticism. So we all thought he’d come back in 9-12 months and return to his elite status. But unfortunately for him, it didn’t happen that way. The injury rattlesnake continued to bite, bite, bite, and well bite again.
Since his initial torn ACL, he’s suffered a multitude of injuries. The list is ridiculously long, but some of the more notable knocks include two torn meniscuses, three sprained ankles, and a sprained left wrist.
The situation became so dire that a 2017 SBNation article wrote, “Rose’s injuries have likely derailed what was once such a promising career for the point guard.”
If he chose to set down the sneaks no one would have questioned him, but he had other plans.
Instead, he decided to reinvent his game. The hobbled high flyer understood his limitations and traded in his flashy aerodynamics for a smooth 15-foot jumper. He also increased his IQ, added a consistent floater, and proved a valuable veteran presence in multiple locker rooms.
Call it whatever you want but he has the heart of a fricking elephant.
And that is what makes his current run with the New York Knicks legendary to watch. For most of the year, he’s been a backup to Elfrid Payton, but not Wednesday night.
Entering the second half of Game Two, the Knicks desperately needed a spark; they were trailing by thirteen points and were in danger of losing both of their opening games at home. But suddenly, coach Tom Thibodeau had an idea; he decided to start Rose in the third quarter.
This changed everything.
Behind Rose’s 26 points, the Knicks clawed their way back into the contest and wound up winning the game by nine points.
This felt like a defining moment in the return of a once forgotten icon, who can no longer be forgotten.
The man is a humble inspiring leader who is now finding success again at the highest level.
The story of Rose is no longer a sad story, instead it’s a tale of a hero who refused to give up.