Throughout the summer and the little bit of fall we’ve experienced, NBA superstars have done their part to keep the exiled sport in the hearts and minds of the public. And for better than worse, it’s worked damn near to a tee. Still, other than when Billy Hunter and David Stern will cure the NBA’s nagging STD, one question sits firmly at half court. Where the hell has Derrick Rose been?
Rose, unlike any MVP in recent memory, is unassuming. The limelight appears to startle him. The attention isn’t his first choice in benefits from being one of the league’s more recognizable faces and being famous falls far behind being Chicago’s second basketball savior. Truthfully, that’s the endearing quality of D-Rose. He plays the game the right way. He makes the right statements, whenever we can understand what he’s saying in interviews. He’s a more humble version of Kevin Durant, if K.D. could get more humble.
But during arguably the most important time of the league’s existence in the last 15 years (i.e. the absolute worst time to have a work stoppage), it is more than ironic Rose has been the NBA’s most quiet superstar. Durant’s summer explosion has been nothing short of an Academy Award winning campaign while John Wall has leap-frogged into that list of players who was really good but has now graduated to the “one-magical-season-and-this-guy-is-bonafide-superstar-ready” (see: Tyreke Evans). Then there’s names like Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Melo, Chris Paul and more who have had their faces plastered on basketball-related activities all summer. So there has to be a reason Derrick Rose pulled a Patrick Swayze.
Maybe he was hurt. Then again, maybe he still hasn’t gotten over the way his season ended. He could also be pissed Chicago has to eat Carlos Boozer’s contract. Or maybe, and this is the most realistic one, he’s doing what Stephen A. Smith damn near blew a vein in his neck wanting LeBron to do – go away and fine tune his game. Whenever basketball does resurface, there’s a chance the 2011 (or ’12, or ’13, or ’14…) Derrick Rose could make this year’s MVP look like child’s play. What if he returns with a back to the basket game and jump shot sharp enough to make John Paxson blush? And what if he polishes his media skills to the point where his articulacy rivals that of fellow Chicagoan President Obama? As scary for the rest of the league as it sounds, a lockout could be the best thing to ever happen to Derrick Rose.
What’s next for the MVP who has yet to even sniff his prime years? Hell if any of us not named Derrick Rose know. His future is dependent on whether or not a deal is worked out. He probably won’t be in Carmelo’s upcoming “epic” exhibition nor will he start a @DRose1 Twitter account. That doesn’t represent him. He’s one of those G’s who move in silence like lasagna Weezy preached about. He’s the man who will lead the Windy City back to its championship glory. Possibly. He’s also the man Joe Johnson probably wishes he was playing alongside instead of running the okie-doke on the entire city of Atlanta. He’s the man who is half the reason the Rose/Wall match ups have so much potential. Derrick Rose is everything and more with a basketball in his possession.
He’s just not the guy who’ll lead us through the lockout.
Previously: Detailed Look: The Adidas AdiZero Rose 2