In the famous adidas commercial starring Derrick Rose, he makes the following comments: “Let me tell you something. If you took away the money . . . if you took away the fame . . . the spotlight. If you took away the lifestyle . . . and all the things that come with it. If you took away all the flash . . . what would you have left?” The answer is found watching Rose go through some slick ballhandling, then make a quick spin move into a reverse dunk in which he lowers the ball between his legs with both hands - after he’s left the ground. D. Rose stares into the camera and gives the answer: “Everything.” This is followed by the well-known saying - seen on all sorts of apparel (not just adidas): “Basketball is everything.”
Last year Rose suffered a knee injury. It ended his season - and began a grueling rehabilitation process. For months. Meanwhile, his Chicago Bulls teammates rallied around their wounded superstar and made a conscious effort to embrace the principles of their head coach, Tom Thidobeau, defensive guru extraordinaire. As the season progressed, so did the Bulls. They came in fifth in the East, a miraculous achievement for a team that lost its superstar and leader.
Meanwhile, Rose had been going through arduous rehab and, according to some accounts, was ready to join his guys for a deep playoff run. Yet Rose claimed he wasn’t 100% and that he wouldn’t play until he was. No problem, exclaimed the Bulls, completely loyal to their main man. Then they went out and beat the fourth seeded Brooklyn Nets the hard way, losing the clinching game at home only to knock off the Nets at their own joint, 99-93. Talk about passing a gut check.
But now they moved on to play the seemingly invincible Miami Heat, a task which might be possible . . . if they had their leader. Sorry, said Rose, not until I’m 100%. The Bulls shocked the basketball world by knocking off the eventual champs in Game 1 in Miami. Reality set in and the Bulls lost four straight but, maybe to show they still had some grit left (after losing by double digits three straight games, two of them serious blowouts) took the Heat - in Miami - to the wire, losing 94-91. If nothing else, the future was brighter than bright when their captain returned.
The 2013-14 season began and with it, the return of D. Rose. He was a little tentative early on but showed flashes that became more frequent. Rose was back and the Bulls were back! Well, the Bulls must have done something to upset the basketball gods because, once again, Derrick Rose went down with an injury. A knee injury. The other one. And, once again, he’s out . . . for . . . the . . . season.
If his past actions are any indication of what to expect, it could be quite a while before the Bulls get back their superstar. And people are wondering how much of their superstar they’ll be seeing. Now D. Rose will find out that it’s not the money, fame, spotlight, lifestyle and flash that’s been taken away, but in his own words . . . everything. And when he finally returns, the words of Cormac McCarthy will echo loudly:
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”