Derrick Rose's Influential Decision
I actually wrote this piece in 2013, when I started Rizzossports.blogspot.com. Thought it was relevant because of Kawhi’s decision to sit out in 2017-18, Le’Veon Bell choosing to sit out in 2018 and Rose’s hot start to 2018-19. Before you start this read, I want to say this. Not only is D. Rose a better basketball player now then he was before, we can thank the genius of Tom Thibodeau for allowing him to gauge his own body, which ultimately led to what we’re seeing today.
Say what you want about Derrick Rose, call him a coward, call him selfish, call him exactly what adjective comes to mind. Let the insults fly because I’ve seen them hurled by the media throughout this entire 2012-13 season. If you ask me, the adjectives that should be used to describe the two-time NBA All Star and 2011's Most Valuable Player would be somewhere along the lines of brilliant and influential. The decision Rose made to sit out the year while recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in the previous season’s NBA Playoffs may have been the smartest choice we’ve seen from an athlete. For once an athlete was able to stand up for himself and prove that not only does he understand the value of his career, he also understands the business aspect of professional sports and won’t make any rash decisions that could hurt his future earning potential. Too many times we've seen athletes rush back from devastating injuries only to further the damage and lose the ability to play at the level they once played. This type of rash decision making is usually influenced by the owner and team-based medical staffs and ultimately leads to a premature end to ones career and millions of cautionary tale think-pieces. Do the names Brandon Roy, Darius Miles, Bo Jackson, Yao Ming or another one of Chicago's very own Gale Sayers ring a bell? The 2012 version of The Decision set a precedent allowing athletes the freedom and choice to gauge their own bodies and control their destinies. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that everyone heals differently and as an athlete, it's crucial to understand that before you can perform at your highest physically, you have to trust your body, something hard to do when your wrapped up in the mental strife that comes with returning from a traumatic experince in which your moneymaker (body) can’t perform at its peak. For guys like Rose, who make a living off explosion and superior athleticism, two things a bum knee can hinder, the mental aspect is the most difficult of the recovery process. One must understand that professional sports is a business first and foremost. Each decision tends to heavily favor the interest of the Owner, as they are typically look to squeeze every penny out of their investments and will chew a player up and spit them out if things such as injuries derail the investments return. That doesn’t necessarily make owners bad people. They’re responsible for providing their perspective markets with a team that’ll force fans to pay the price of admission and with that, the whole idea of being patient and making sure their most valuable assets, the players, are mentally and physically fit to enjoy long and propserous careers gets lost. The Bulls organization decided to finally break the mold by protecting the player and allowing Rose to come back at his own pace, even if his own pace ruled him out of providing a single minute for a very talented Bulls roster who not only had a shot at winning an NBA title but, nonetheless overcame several key injuries before bowing out to the defending champion Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs. There were no rumblings from the people who mattered most inside the organization like Bulls Chairmen Jerry Reinsdorf, his teammates who backed his decision publicly or his Head Coach Tom Thibodeau who said, "Right from the start, I thought Jerry set the tone for it. He made it clear about how we were going to approach it. We were never going to rush him back. We weren't going to allow him to rush himself back. He heeded Jerry's advice right from the beginning." The choice Rose made this season was not an easy one and although as fans we tend to let our emotions play into our thoughts about the personal decisions and performances of today's athletes, we must factor in that at the end of the day these athletes are human and they must look out for their own best interest. Gotta tip your hat to the Bulls organization and Rose, hopefully we’ll see more players value their most lucrative asset -- their bodies -- and not be vilified for it.
PS: Rose is currently shooting career high percentages from the field (49.0) and from 3 (46.9). He’s also averaging 18.3 points, which is highest output since 2011-12. We love a good comeback story, especially one for someone who’s made a huge impact for their city not only as a hooper but as a person. Salute to D.Rose and Chief Keef nem’.