SLAM Radio: Knowing Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose[audio:]

by Ryne Nelson

We met at a laid-back Playstation party in Phoenix last February when I was working on a feature that’s now on your local newsstand. Rose just finished playing the 2K9 version of the Skills Challenge. He went through it thrice and improved by 30 seconds each time. Using the game to plan his own handle for the real Skills Challenge that evening, he trotted through with a resounding win.

Instead of re-running the article called “Sweet Home Chicago” — headlined after the tattoo on his left wrist — here’s our uncut conversation from that afternoon. I also spoke with Derrick’s coach, friend and mentor, John Calipari. That veteran poise everyone talks about now in the Playoffs — Cal and I talked about it as well. You can’t avoid the topic when piecing together this young man’s puzzle.

A Rose grew from the concrete pavement of the inner city. It doesn’t happen often. But it did, and you can be sure it’s of a different breed than the rest.