Entering the 2012-13 season, Chicago Bulls fans were steeled for what was set to be a rough campaign, one that would be without star guard Derrick Rose for an indefinite amount of time. The 2011 NBA MVP tore his ACL in the first game of the 2012 playoffs, and most estimates had Derrick returning around midseason to help salvage a Bulls season that was going to be pitched without not only the All-Star point man, but it’s infamous “Bench Mob” in former Bulls Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, and C.J. Watson.
As if to throw a bone to Chicago fans, in the days leading up to the start of the regular season, Rose and his shoe company released this advertisement, one that culminated with a portrayal of Rose’s eventual return to action in Chicago, smartly titled 'The Return.'
Of course, Bulls fans couldn’t have guessed that Rose’s return to the United Center would take a full 12 months following the release of the advertisement to come to fruition. Derrick will return to his home floor for an exhibition game against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, nearly 18 months after that devastating ACL tear.
Rose, in talking with the Arlington Heights Daily Herald’s Mike McGraw, reveals that he doesn’t have any regrets about what could be considered a bait and switch:
"Not at all. I think it was a great commercial," Rose said Monday at the Berto Center. "I wouldn't take it back for anything. I tried my hardest to get back on the court. Every practice, I was really trying to push myself to get back on the floor as quick as possible. It just didn't happen last year. I have to worry about my health. That was the No. 1 issue.
"This year I hope that commercial comes true where I brighten everybody's day and everybody will be tuned in."
The difference is, of course, that Rose will be returning in a meaningless exhibition game in mid-October against the Detroit Pistons. As opposed to, say, returning last February in a nationally televised home game against the Philadelphia 76ers exactly 10 months to the date of his ACL tear. That date is pitched right in the middle of the “eight to 12 months”-prognosis Rose was given when an MRI revealed his injury. Chicago’s season would eventually end some 12 and a half months after his injury, without Rose having played a single game.
Now, we’ve staunchly been on the side of Rose taking however long he felt necessary to return from what can be a devastating setback. The Chicago Bulls further complicated things by just about punting the season in stripping back some of the team’s depth, though the team’s coaching staff and former Bulls like Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli are to be credited for helping circle the wagons (45 wins, a second round appearance) during what was a remarkable season in many aspects.
And it’s tough, so tough, to come back from a physical and mental setback like an ACL tear midseason, especially for an MVP-level player like Rose. This ain’t Iman Shumpert, and tell Ricky Rubio the news.
With that in place, Rose decided to sign off on a commercial that would not only help him sell shoes, but hype up a comeback that never really materialized – unless you count Wednesday’s return, which we most assuredly do not.
This is the price of having it your own way, which Rose should have had all along. He’s free to make his own decisions, but we’re afforded just as many opportunities to point out that, yeah, that was a pretty daft move to hype up your shoes and your expected “Return,” without following through within that particular season. It’s an embarrassing mark on what will hopefully turn into a fantastic comeback.