If you had asked me on October 30, I’d have said that Derrick Rose is the first ever MVP who would not get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Then, on October 31, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 30-year-old point guard dropped 50 points on the Utah Jazz.
He had played some good basketball at the beginning of the season, and he had been silencing his haters day in and day out, but the so-called Redemption Tour kicked off that night at the Target Center.
If he stays healthy, he can rewrite his story and maybe get a call from the HoF committee after his retirement. Luckily for us, Rose is playing at a high level and it appears he isn’t planning to call it quits anytime in the foreseeable future.
Anyone who remembers the 2011 Derrick Rose knows what he is capable of with a basketball in his hands. That athleticism, that speed, that sense of urgency was something else; when he played his best, maybe only LeBrun James was at his level.
Rose’s story, his nosedive – one which those back-to-back season-ending injuries played a huge part of – moved in some way or another each and every fan, player, and executive. It didn’t matter if you were a hater. This guy, who was then thought to be the prototype of the ultimate 21st-century point guard, a living highlight-reel, could not blossom into the player he was predicted to become.
Does it mean that he is not Hall of Fame worthy? You only have to watch his videos from the past, then some recaps during his comeback attempts, and some highlights from this NBA season, and you can judge for yourself.
What do you see on those tapes? Let me help you out: first, here is a guy – trademarked by Cris Collinsworth – who was meant to be an all-time great. Next, you can see a shattered man, who worked his ass off and desperately wanted to come back, but whose body was failing him over and over again. On the last video, you recognize a tired, wrinkled athlete who is playing calmly and freely again, enjoying every minute, every second, on the floor.
He does what he is known for: he attacks the rim with no hesitations, no regrets, no fear.
He hasn’t changed a bit. You still cannot read his face during a game. Rose doesn’t show any sign of happiness or anger. Not that he needs to, but in an environment where you usually have to be as much a great showman as a great athlete, it’s not easy.
Still, the fans are fond of him, and the Redemption Tour has been a success.
“I don’t sell myself to people. It’s not me. That’s not my character. I don’t have an Instagram. I don’t have any of that. It comes from me being in people’s minds for some reason and people really caring,” said Rose back in January about his possible selection.
He is real, no matter what. The hype, of course, is getting bigger and bigger as we are closing on in April and on the end of the regular season. But hey, it’s fine that everyone’s excited.
Rose has made quite a journey from fighting for a roster spot in New York and Cleveland to becoming one of the most intriguing characters of the universal sports world.
Cover photo by USA Today