At long last, Derrick Rose is back. Not just playing preseason games, either. The Bulls' game Tuesday at Miami is the most anticipated Chicago season opener since, well, maybe ever. What did everyone miss most? You can start with this list.
Andrew Barber, Fake Shore Drive owner/creator
For Rose, I respect the way that he cares so deeply about his city. The day he broke down in tears during his Adidas press conference because of the violence in Chicago, more specifically in Englewood, was so powerful and sincere. You could feel his pain. It wasn't an act. He really wants to change things and make a difference.
Christopher Cason, Bulls beat reporter
In spending several years now around Derrick Rose and getting to see him both as a competitor and a person, the one thing I admire about him is that he truly gets it.
There's an unbelievable amount of pressure that comes in playing in your hometown. You add on being a No. 1 pick, the youngest MVP in league history, the indisputable face of the franchise since MJ and playing under those six [championship] banners, and for some, it could become claustrophobic just coming in to work every day. Derrick understands all of that and embraces it. The love and loyalty he has for his family and the city of Chicago is second to none.
Matthew Cassell, Evanston native and Middle East journalist
It would take someone special with just the right mix of skills and leadership, not to mention that unique off-the-court charisma, to ever fulfill Chicago's desire to be able to cheer greatness again. Of course, being a hometown kid wouldn't hurt either.
Derrick Rose has all of that. But just when the Bulls looked they might be able to repeat what their predecessors from the '90s had done, our star went down. His thud on the court was echoed with a thud in our hearts. It was a tragic moment captured in the pain stricken face of the young athlete as he went down with a knee injury.
I know for many Chicagoans, Rose is something more than just a basketball player. Coming from Englewood, the city's most notoriously dangerous neighborhood, Rose is an inspiration for so many youth.
Where classrooms contain two or three times as many students as they should, where work opportunities are almost nonexistent and where young people are gunned down on a weekly basis, Rose overcame all the odds to become a homegrown hero. Knowing all that and just how tough of a city Chicago can be, it's impossible to not tip your hat to everything that Rose has already accomplished. And that reverence will be blatantly obvious by the deafening screams of Chicagoans the next time D-Rose's name is announced in the starting lineup.
Billy Dec, entrepreneur
I remember before D-Rose was 21 some of his more rambunctious teammates tried to drag him to Underground. I will never forget how awkward it was for me as a huge fan to have to tell them he couldn't get in because I knew he was underage and I don't break that rule, and interestingly, I could see the awkwardness in Derrick's face looking like he didn't even want to be out like that.
I really don't think he gets distracted or fazed by the nightlife scene or other things he probably has full access to. Every time we run into each other he is just a super kind, courteous gentleman who you can tell is always focused on his game.
Sean Elliot, retired NBA player
Too many things to name, to be honest with you. I love the fact that he's a team player. He's a good kid. He seems to have his head on straight. He plays really hard. And he respects the game. and it seems to me that he respects what came before him, and that's becoming more uncommon.
Adrian Griffin, Bulls assistant coach
Derrick is humble. Everyone loves a guy who wants it and puts in the time and energy and focus. He wants to be great. And you gotta respect that. I've never seen a more humble All-Star, or superstar, we'll say. He's definitely himself a superstar in this league, but he doesn't carry himself with the ego. He's all about the team, and all about doing whatever it takes. … He reminds me of Kobe, and MJ. Guys like that. Guys that you're gonna have to cut their hearts out because they're going to keep coming.
Tim "Sgt. Tibs" Hanrahan, GoWhereHipHop founder
The two things I most respect about Derrick Rose stem from two moments I actually cried along with him. Rose was overcome with emotion at the release of his new shoes this past fall in appreciation of everything and everybody that's helped him get to where he is today. And also over a city—his city—plagued by gang violence and an ongoing public school strike. It hit home and pierced his heart.
As much as Rose loves his city, he loves his family. And when he accepted the MVP trophy just a year before, I couldn't help but shed tears as Rose did the same - not over winning an award, but tears of gratitude for his mother, Brenda. It's that love and appreciation for a support system that starts with mom, and extends to us all, that we should admire Derrick for. Putting the orange ball through the hoop is all a bonus.
Mikkey Halsted, Chicago MC
What I respect most about D. Rose is the humility and selflessness that is attached to such an other-worldly talent. He has such a knack to make his teammates better and to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. I've watched him since high school and I know one thing: any team with Rose on the roster has a legitimate shot at winning every time he steps on the floor. This is due to the fact that his incredible humility is only matched by competitive nature and drive that all the great ones have.
Darren Haydar, Chicago Wolves
I respect D-Rose for being an elite player who truly makes his teammates better, a player willing to take the big shot, but also willing to give it to a teammate if they are in an open position. He's an exciting talent to watch!
Bill Jacobs, owner of Piece
Derrick Rose is a man of few words who speaks volumes through his incredible work ethic, his burning desire to excel, and his dedication to his team and fans. I'm fired up to see him back on the floor elevating this exciting Bulls team!
DeAnna McLeary-Sherman, co-founder of True Star Foundation
The one thing that I like about Derrick Rose is he seems authentically humble. A lot of people seem humble because they know they should be, but it seems like it just really comes from an authentic place. You just really want to root for this guy, especially in the midst of his injury and what he's gone through for over a year now.
Ed Pinckney, Bulls assistant coach
Everybody talks about how humble he is, and he definitely is that, but he is extremely competitive. Very, very much so. You really get a chance to see it anytime we're down in games, and he doesn't feel we should be losing. It's almost as if I'm most comfortable when I'm sitting, watching the game, because I know, "He's angry now, so we're getting ready to win this game." [Laughs.] That's the thing I love the most about him.
Exavier Pope, on-air legal personality
Chicagoans are a loyal bunch. We still love Mike Ditka and eat up his steaks to this day even though he left the Bears unceremoniously. We support the Lovable Loser Cubs even though they have been the laughingstock of baseball for 100-plus years. The Tim Floyd-coached Bulls continued selling out games because fans just wanted to sit and cheer in the house where Michael Jordan played. The Blackhawks remained at the top of the NHL's list of jersey sales even before the team's recent success. We love the biggest homer in the world, White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson.
It's what we do here. Like WGN, Derrick Rose is one of Chicago's very own. Rose has been a role model by saying and doing the right things. His humility is unmatched in professional sports, all while being a hard working, tough, little guy carrying a franchise. We are eating it up just like Rose with a Giordano's deep dish slice. No matter what happens to Rose post-surgery, he is still ours.
Jack M Silverstein, RedEye special contributor
There’s so much to admire about Derrick Rose’s character, but one thing I’ll never forget about how special Rose is on the court was the way he closed out his rookie year. The Bulls were floundering in mid-March: they were eight games under .500 and a game back from the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. I remember distinctly not feeling worried, knowing somehow that Rose – just a rookie – would drag the Bulls into the playoffs.
Sure enough, they won 12 of their final 16 games and won the East’s 7 seed. Rose worked similar magic the next year, returning from an injury after the team had lost 10 straight games to drop to 31-37, and leading the team to 10 victories in their final 14 games to seal another playoff spot. The Bulls have never missed the playoffs with Rose. He seems to have an absolute faith in himself to win when it counts, and that is a confidence that spreads to his teammates, his coaches, and even his fans.
Sarah Spain, ESPN Chicago
I'll skip over all the off-the-court stuff that has made the whole city admire Rose since his first day. Instead, I'll say I admire his ability to explode off the ground and slam the ball through the hoop with the force of a rocket. His above-the-rim game is simply astounding for a 6-3 point guard. Watching a power forward with legs and arms for miles throw down sick jams is entertaining—watching Rose do it is art.
Chuck Swirsky, Bulls announcer
The story takes place on Jan. 17, 2011 in Memphis. It was a nationally televised ESPN event featuring the Bulls and Grizzlies on Martin Luther King Day at the FedEx Forum. As is the case on national games prior to the contest, media relations directors usher coaches and star players in and out of a nearby production room to meet the game day announcers as well as conducting a sit-down interview.
Rose was accompanied by a Bulls staff member and an ESPN crew. I saw Rose open the utility room door and allowed others to enter before he did. Manners. Grace. Respect. That's Derrick Rose.
At the end of his rookie season the Bulls lost a heartbreaking seven game series to the Celtics on May 2, 2009. Leaving the arena to the bus for a flight back to Chicago, his brilliant rookie season over, Rose stopped me and said, "Chuck, thanks for the support this year. I appreciate it." Not a lot of athletes would do that. Not a lot of players even remember broadcasters' names. Rose is a class act. He's always treated me with professionalism and respect. That's all I can ask or receive.
Trey the Choklit Jok, radio personality
When they were seniors, I had Rose and fellow Simeon senior Tim Flowers on my morning show. Me, not knowing how good Rose was, or was going to be, I dropped the ball and didn't care to network with him. Thought he was just a regular ol' high school hooper. … Four years later he's the freaking NBA MVP. From what I can remember he was a very well-disciplined young man. Spoke to everybody, shook everyone's hand, all that. I remember [the Bulls] knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs and Larry Drew, head coach of the Hawks, said he had a bright future ahead of him. Rose replied "Yes sir. Thank you." He replied as if he was a still a teenager acknowledging his elders.
Bulls fan Jerome Marshall, 27, Humboldt Park
His humble character and solid determination. He doesn't gloat, he's no assface like LeBron. He's determined to win, he's determined to get better, he's determined to master his craft. He conveys it all with a sense of appreciation to play on the same team as Jordan, in his hometown. He doesn't revel in these things, he's just happy to play the game he loves. That demands respect.
Bulls fan Ashleigh Johnson, 27, South Shore
His passion and his drive to succeed. I feel like even if he wasn't a basketball player he would still have the same fire in his heart, and I respect that.
Bulls fan Jared Honn, 30, Logan Square
His drive, both literally and figuratively. How hard he plays on each possession requires your attention. His will to win constantly pushes his game to new heights. Every week [in 2011-12] he was doing something I had never seen a point guard do with the ball in the paint. His drive is contagious, and the whole team and city of Chicago feed off of it.
Bulls fan Kenneth Akins Jr. 31, Englewood
What I respect most about Derrick Rose is his heart. He has love for the game of basketball, for the city, for his family, his fans and his community. The fact that he came from humble beginnings shows in how he gives respect to those who helped him get to where he is. He gives respect and he definitely gets it back.
Bulls fan Abeni Shaw, 31, Lakeview
He seems down to earth, humble, and passionate about the game. Maybe that’s what I respect most about him is that I don’t hear his name attached to anything negative, i.e. reckless behavior, etc. I also appreciate his calmness, on the court and off. Seems like that added a nice balance to the team when he was playing. Overall, he just presents himself as a "real" person, not portraying a certain image, not perfect, but dedicated, passionate and appreciative.