Derrick Rose was medically cleared to play basketball almost two months ago, but he still hasn’t returned to the court. While his team struggles to get past their first round opponent and other players battle variety of ailments and injuries, Rose is sitting on the bench in a suit. It’s a sight that has some Chicago sports fans and media outlets questioning Rose’s commitment to the Bulls/basketball/life in general. How can a true competitor just sit there while Nate Robinson is throwing up his dinner and running floaters all at once?
In particular, a post on the Business Insider Sports Page notes “It was trendy to defend Rose from sitting out. But it is getting harder and harder to give him the benefit of the doubt.” [Full disclosure: I used to work for Business Insider and I have great respect for the website.]
First of all, the idea that Derrick Rose — who has lived and breathed basketball for his whole life — is suddenly “not committed” to playing is ludicrous. You don’t become a McDonald’s All-American, number one overall draft pick, NBA Rookie of the Year, All-Star and MVP because you occasionally like to go to the playground and shoot around. To simply compete on the NBA level takes incredible dedication; to excel means you’re obsessed with the sport, to put it lightly.
Also, have you seen this footage? Does this look like someone who doesn’t really care about his team, about his city, about his sport and about his future in it?
Secondly, no one on his team is (publicly) putting any pressure on Rose to return. As pro athletes, they understand that not everyone is like Adrian “2,500 Yards Next Year, Bro” Peterson and can come back quickly from devastating injuries. That was the exception, not the rule.
Thirdly, it makes no sense to compare someone like Nate Robinson to Derrick Rose. With all due respect to Robinson, he needs to play though stomach bugs and the like — he’s got to prove to the Bulls (and other teams) that he’s tough and a team player and worth having around. Derrick Rose is an MVP, he doesn’t need to prove anything.
Finally, you really want to drop Rose into a Game 7 situation, or perhaps a playoff series against the Miami Heat, for his first organized basketball action in over a year? Does that sound like a situation in which he will excel? Anyone who has played sports on any level, from YMCA to the pros, can tell you that it takes a little while to get used to the speed of the game after sitting out awhile. Should Rose be getting used to the speed of the game with LeBron James coming at him on the break? The Bulls would gain very little from his return at this point — especially if he isn’t mentally ready.
So in conclusion, give the guy a break. He wants to get back out there and play more than every Bulls fan in the world wants him to put together. But the time needs to be right, and it’s obvious that now is not the time.
Photo via Getty