Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 at 1:39 pm  |  39 responses

Youngest In Charge

Derrick Rose ‘Got it Made.’

by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford

1.7 percent.

That’s how slim the Chicago Bulls‘ chances were of getting the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery. The odds were stacked all the way against the Second City, but Lady Luck decided to smile on us all and give us the first pick.

And then, on the night of June 26, 2008 at Madison Square Garden, David Stern approached the podium and uttered the words that would change this city forever.

“With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft,” began the Commissioner, “the Chicago Bulls select…” the player who went on to be named Rookie of the Year, an All-Star Game reserve and then a starter back-to-back, and now, the youngest MVP in the history of the League. All in just three short years.

Derrick Rose, ladies and gentleman.

While Chicagoans were celebrating his momentous achievement yesterday afternoon, there are still a lot of people from other parts of the country who still don’t feel that he’s deserving of this honor. The same thing happened last year when Rose was named an All-Star for the first time.

But the MVP award is so much bigger. It means a whole lot more. Therefore, a larger contingent of people weighed in and gave their opinions. His candidacy and his status as a frontrunner was the hot-button topic for months and caused a rift as wide as the Earth is from the moon between the “watch the games” sect and the stat community.

Rose was not only criticized numerically, he was also peppered with every negative superlative you can levy against a basketball player, both online and in print. He’s been called inefficient, a ball-hog, a chucker, a 2-guard in a point guard’s body, devoid of basketball IQ, you name it. Some have even gone so far as to call him selfish, something he’s not and has never been.

But just like his signature drives to the basket, Rose exploded past his detractors, avoided the negativity and still finished strong. Receiving the Maurice Podloff trophy in such convincing fashion (113 out of 121 votes) is evidence of that.

And it is because of this unwarranted criticism and the fact that so many people have seemingly gone so far out of their way to be critical of him, I feel, more than anyone else, that Derrick Rose deserves the title of this year’s Most Valuable Player. Yes, it is a basketball award, but his value isn’t something that can be measured just by what he accomplishes on the basketball court. It’s so much bigger and deeper than that.

Derrick Rose’s value stretches through the entire South Side of Chicago. Through the Englewood neighborhood that protected him. Through Murray Park, where he played, and down 73rd Street, where he grew up.

His value goes through the halls of Simeon High School and is reflective of the legacy of Ben Wilson, the player who had the skills and ability to achieve similar accolades, but tragically fell victim to street violence, leaving a dark cloud over this city and a cautionary tale that still resonates to this very day.

His value goes through a franchise and a city that dynastically reigned supreme and sat atop the basketball totem pole in the ‘90s, and then it all came crashing down and Chicago became hoops irrelevant and an afterthought for six consecutive years.

You see, in a basketball crazy town such as this, Derrick experienced the highs of celebrating Michael Jordan’s MVP awards and winning those NBA Championships just like the rest of us. He may have been young, but he knew what it meant. He also experienced the lows that came from having to watch his hometown team go from being dominant to a doormat. He understands that all too well.

And hitting much closer to home, he’s witnessed guys with all the talent in the world never see their pro potential fulfilled for a variety of reasons, and he made the choice not to become a statistic.

Derrick Rose’s value isn’t because of the trophy he received yesterday, the one that will be on display tonight as he hoists it up to the adoring cheers of his hometown crowd. No, his value is in spite of it. His value is rooted in the pride that we all feel as Chicagoans in seeing one of our own reach these heights, and the pride that comes from being relevant in the game of basketball again.

We had that before with Jordan, but MJ flew here. DRose grew here, and therein lies the difference.

Derrick Rose is Chicago. Derrick Rose is truly one of us.

As a Chicago native who has played and followed basketball in this city for well over half my life, the pride that I feel in seeing someone not just from the same city as me, but also from the same neighborhood receive these awards and honors gives me a feeling that words can’t even express; a feeling that differs from that of an ordinary fan.

As someone who has had to navigate the same pitfalls as he did growing up in Englewood, it feels good to see someone blessed with such extraordinary talent not get swallowed up by the streets like so many others who came before him, and become a symbol of hope, an icon, and a measuring stick for so many of those who will come after him.

So while Derrick Rose may not be “your” MVP, he’s certainly “ours.”

Congratulations, Pooh! You deserve it. It’s all love and Chi-Town has your back, all day!

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  • add

    so fast, so ferocious

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Truly Chicago’s Finest.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    GREAT write up BC.
    as a proud member of the “watch the games” sect, i wanna say drose has put on a show, every single game and ive enjoyed it. and aside from all the statistical BS that hollinger fan boys would love to dissect, he totally deserves this MVP award.
    i totally feel you on this one too. it is a different feeling from when MJ won those MVPs, cuz ive followed derrick since high school and been at the same places he’s been and it just makes one feel like the award isn’t just his, its chicago’s.
    dude was even nice enough after one game to let me and my girlfriend meet him outside the locker rooms to say happy birthday to her. he’s a good dude.
    congrats again derrick, we’re all proud of you.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    Love it! It’s just the beginning.

  • Jer dawg

    He’s a lot better than I thought. This certifies him as one of the best. Very complete guard. He still has room to grow and it’s shockingly only his 3rd year. Still in rookie contract, still only 22, and will be worth a lot more than what the big contract he will be signing will be. Whatever Bulls paying him after CBA will be a bargain. Props all due to Rose. Hope to see him in Finals vs. Lakers.

  • http://mynameisdaunte.com Daunte

    Its a beautiful thing to see people getting what they deserve. God Bless you Derrick. I used to stay right around the corner from Simeon.

  • mj23

    if lebron would be playing like rose is playing in the playoffs he would benn killed by the media but with rose we did not hear a thing rose is shoting 37fg%

  • JTaylor21

    Stats BS my a**.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    can’t even congratulate the dude. smh.
    its over, he won it. get over it.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    It’s amazing how many people from Chicago and the Chicago area have their own Derrick Rose story.
    Mine was when he was signing autographs at the adidas store at the Water Tower shortly after his rookie season.
    I took my 15 year old brother and there was maaaad people in line.
    After waiting for like 2 hours the employees told us that was it, no more autographs.
    My brother was crushed.
    Not two minutes later they came back out and said nevermind, Rose wants to stay and sign autographs for everyone still here.
    My brother and I got some autographed jerseys, but more importnalty my brother, and myself, learned that just cause you’re a star doesn’t mean you can’t be humble.
    Great dude.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    matic, i was there too, haha.
    was it when aaron gray was sitting next to him?
    i remember there was a little girl with a rose poster and she didn’t know any better so she asked gray to sign it.
    aaron gray goes “trust me kid, you don’t want me to sign this one”

  • ThaWindy

    Rose has restored pride in the Windy once again. To be the MVP, let alone the youngest, in the era of LBJ and Wade(etc) is truly remarkable. Even the haters have to tip their hats. I’ve said it since January!… DRose Youngest MVP in NBA History…DRose Youngest Finals MVP!!

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    airs, you realise you can watch the game and use statistics to broaden your knowledge base? If Hollingers statistics said Rose was the best player in the L, you guys would love it.
    Haven’t read it all yet, but Rose is clearly this years MVP. I have watched a lot of Bulls games, and he is scary in the 4th, more so if you are rooting against the Bulls. IMO he is the most unguardable

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Nah, it was just Rose.
    It was right after that series with Boston.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    player in the L. Or “unf*ckwitable” if you will.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Hollinger’s stats are so useless to me that even if he did say Rose was the best player in the L, I’d still pay him and his stats no mind.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    my knowledge base is just fine thank you.
    its not that i don’t disregard stats, or should i say advanced stats. they can be useful.
    but when you’re trying to argue that efficiency or PER or +/- is more important than a W, that’s where i’ll zone out.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Just started reading to be honest. I am in the watch the game and stat collection. Why do you guys assume Hollinger does not watch games? I know he does, he is usually attending a game.
    Also, Rigo, I do not actually use advance statistics as much as you might think. I just found it interesting because CP was at or near the top in most advanced metrics, and did some research. Obviously, watching the games and using the statistics (but looking at them in proper context) gives you the best perspective. Rose shoots a lot% (therefore affecting advanced metrics) because he has to shoot, and he has to shoot as the shot clock goes down, leading to bad shots sometimes.

  • Maurice Bobb

    Dope write up, B

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    i never assumed hollinger didn’t watch games, im just saying his stats are a crock of sh*t.
    kevin love is 6th in PER.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I didn’t mean your knowledge base, I meant it in general. It just makes sense to look at all the resources available.
    Rose is a winner, that much is clear. Matic/Rigo, Hollinger knows a lot about the game besides his own stat IMO. He just values his stat more than others would, which makes sense seeing as he made it up. He had Rose 4th in the MVP race. That is just wrong.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Now I have read it all, I like it. Rose is a beast, if Boozer had been playing like he usually does in the post season, Chi-Town may actually be looking like the team who had the L’s best record.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    Oops. Guess I now know airs’ real name and email.
    Good thing I’m a fellow Bulls and Rose fan so you ain’t gotta worry about any hate mail coming your way!
    SLAM gotta fix this tho…

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Anyways, let’s not lower the standards of this this well-written article by going on about Hollinger.
    And AllBall –
    *Unf★ckwitable™ is a registered trademark used under permission of Enigmatic

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    That is because Love is a phenomenal rebounder, and a very good 3 point shooter.
    Looking at the top 10 in PER – Bron, Dwight, Wade, Love, Bryant, Paul, Durant, Westbrook, Rose, Nowitzki. Not a bad list. The only two who don’t belong in top ten player lists are Love and Westbrook (maybe).

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    haha, gee thanks.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    lol, sorry Rigo.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    That was me @ 2:27 BTW, airs.
    Cool name. You should go by that on here.

  • tRay

    Some people on here can never give dude credit smh I mean I hate the Bulls with a passion but I can respect dude and his game and he deserved this award.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    haha trying to start a trend i see, rigo.
    nah, i’ll stick with this.
    can’t risk any enemies ive made finding me on facebook or something

  • http://twitter.com/soulonice6 Kenny

    Great article, BC. In a time where plenty are unable or unwilling to humanize the players who put on for the masses, it’s nice to see the balance here, between sport and what he means for the city on a personal scale.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Sh*t, this is liberating right here.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    hahah, i bet bro. it’s cool to have an alias though

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    I gotta shout this out too – Holly Mackenzie wrote an outstanding article regarding Rose, his acceptance speech and his mom. Don’t be surprised if you run to call your own mom after reading this.


  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    I didn’t know David Stern went by the name “Lady Luck”.

    Nah seriously though Rose deserved it. I’m a Hawks fan and I hope he and the Bulls get their asses kicked in this series, but Rose is a likable player and deserved the MVP.

  • MLK4Life

    Watching his press conference yesterday, you can just tell that he’s a genuine dude. Great basketball player who will only get better. He admits his faults. He takes the blame when they lose and shifts the credit to his teammates when they win. I could care less about his FG percentage. He’s still growing. The team is still growing. The NBA is in great hands with him and Durant leading the way for the next decade or so. Anyone who thinks that he and Westbrook are the same player and had the same season are out of their mind. Watching Westbrook in these playoffs, you can clearly see that the only thing he and Rose have in common is athletic ability.

  • Philly

    Congrats to D. Rose !

  • http://www.onitsukatigermexico66.us onitsuka tiger mexico 66

    he’s a genuine dude. Great basketball player who will only get better. Hope Rose will get the MVP in the next season, let us look forward to.

  • lockon

    i believed your d.rose 4 mvp cover. my friends didnt. well….