Southside, Englewood, Chi-Town… STAND UP!

by January 28, 2010

by Bryan Crawford

I remember asking Derrick Rose during the Chicago Bulls annual media day in September what his goals this season were. He said this: “I want to be MVP, I want to make the All-Star team, I want to be the best at my position. All of my goals are high and hopefully I’ll be able to reach thDerrick Roseem [this season].”

At the time, those goals seemed lofty and in December—when the Bulls were teetering on the brink of disaster—those goals seemed virtually unrealistic and unattainable. But with the recent resurgence of the Bulls of late, led by Rose’s stellar play, his goal of becoming an NBA All-Star has come to fruition.

Hampered by an ankle injury during the preseason and for the early part of the regular season, Rose struggled and so did the Bulls. During that time I remember asking him just about every time I saw him how his ankle was and his answer was always that he was fine and that he felt good. The only complaint that he had was on his conditioning, but you could see very easily he just wasn’t the same player from a year ago who had the entire League abuzz.

But now, his conditioning is a non-issue and the ankle is healed and his quickness and explosion are back (just ask Goran Dragic or the Oklahoma City Thunder), and he’s about to make his first All-Star Game appearance in only his second season becoming the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan in ’98 to be named to the team.

I’m a huge Ben Gordon fan but Derrick Rose has been the lone bright spot in this franchise since the GOAT left the Windy City. YeDerrick Roses, Gordon was a great player during his time here, but the difference between the two is Rose has superstar potential. When he was coming out of Memphis I remembered having very heated discussions on the merits of the Bulls taking Michael Beasley over Rose. My logic then, as it is now, was very simple.

Guys like Beasley will come and go, but true point guards are like true centers; they don’t come along very often. When you have a chance to take one in the draft, you do it.

I know that Portland Trailblazer fans will disagree with me wholeheartedly on that kind of thinking but for the most part, it’s true.

Look at the success of the New Orleans Hornets with Chris Paul at the helm. Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz haven’t missed a beat with Deron Williams running the show. Even with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen in Boston, the real key to that team is Rajon Rondo. And to epitomize the importance of the PG position to a basketball team, one needs to look no further than Chauncey Billups.

I could go on and on, but my point is that with few exceptions, the importance of having a good PG can never be understated.

Derrick Rose has brought basketball pride back to Chicago and has instilled a new sense of pride in the Bulls as well. This city has been hungry for a hoops star since Michael Jordan left and the local kid from the southside has fit the bill quite nicely. It’s one thing to have a superstar come in and turn your team into a success like Jordan did; but it’s another thing entirely when that superstar comes from your own backyard. It’s even more refreshing when that person is as quiet and as humble as Rose is. That’s not exactly a trait that most good athletes from this town tend to share.

As someone who comes from the same neighborhood as Derrick Derrick RoseRose and as someone who’s seen rain, tears, blood, and countless lives and careers go down the drains of these southside Chicago streets—as I’m sure he has as well—it gives me great pride and pleasure to be able to congratulate Derrick on his All-Star nod.

In some NBA circles, there are those who feel that an all-star should be chosen based on their individual stats. In others, some would describe an all-star as a player (or players) who are most responsible for their team’s success. I’m a part of the latter. No, his stats aren’t mind blowing by any stretch, but take Derrick Rose off the Chicago Bulls and you’re very easily looking at a team who’d be a bottom-feeder in the Eastern Conference as opposed to a team currently tied for seventh place with the Charlotte Bobcats and who would be in the playoffs if they were to start today.

So congratulations Pooh! You deserve this. And as far as your goals this season, one down and two to go fam.