You know, it's funny — after all the sturm und drang surrounding Derrick Rose's self-described "selfish" 18-month recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, I might have expected a line like the one the point guard reads in this Adidas commercial for his new shoe ("It’s time to show the world that I can still do this") to have landed a bit oddly and off-beat:
Like, if you were a Chicago Bulls fan, I could understand responding by thinking, "March and May might not have been bad times for that, either." But then you read Blog a Bull's Ricky O'Donnell's report from the shoe company's big Sunday launch party at the United Center, and you realize that many Bulls fans have drained that particular abscess:
Throughout the entire thing, there wasn't even a hint that Rose could have come back last year if he wanted to. There wasn't a trace of angst, anger or anxiety over that decision in the building, either. I think it's for the best. The last 18 months and the discourse that came along with it has been nauseating in every direction, and I'm just mostly thankful it's over.
We get to watch Derrick Rose play basketball again soon for the Bulls. It's a wonderful thing.
It is, for sure, and for his part, Rose sure sounds ready to confront all comers head-on. In chatting with reporters at the event, the 24-year-old triggerman addressed those who criticized his delayed return:
"It really didn't faze me. You hear stuff. If you're weak-minded, of course it's going to bother you. But I know that with me, through all the criticism, it feels good that I made it this far, and achieving everything that I've achieved so far."
"Right now, I can tell you that I'll probably be excited, but I don't know how that day is going to be. When I step out there, I'm going to try not to be emotional, try not to let my emotions play a part in the game and go out there, and just ball."
I believe so. I believe if you’re any franchise player for any organization, it can be basketball or soccer or whatever sport you play, if you don’t believe you’re the best player in the NBA then the owner should fire you, you should retire or something like that should happen. You should have that confidence that you can be the best or you shouldn’t be playing that sport or doing whatever you’re doing.
Or, more succinctly, from Andrew Seligman of The Associated Press: "Asked if he has any doubts he'll regain his MVP form, Rose said, 'No.'"
It remains to be seen whether 10 new pounds of muscle will help him once again carry the weight of a city's expectations, but as he says in the spot, Derrick Rose is back to being "all in for Chicago." And not a moment too soon.