On Tuesday night, rapper Waka Flocka Flame, best known for his basketball-adjacent hit "Hard in Da Paint," tweeted that Derrick Rose would return to NBA action: "Word is D.Rose back" (plus a hashtag with a word we can't reprint on a family website). That news would be big, if true, since Rose's Chicago Bulls play the Miami Heat on Wednesday night with hopes of stopping their 27-game winning streak. Also, Mr. Flame is not an NBA reporter, and it would be probably be a big deal if he scooped everyone on one of the biggest stories of the season.
No one confirmed the tweet, but it proved popular enough — 1790 retweets and 452 favorites, as of this writing — to force assembled reporters to ask Rose and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau about it at Wednesday's pregame shootaround. The result was perhaps the greatest, most surreal NBA press availability since Dwight Howard joined Stan Van Gundy at a very uncomfortable moment.
Here's the video from CSNChicago.com:
As you can see, Rose handles the questions like the media-ready pro we know him to be, saying that he has no real connection to Waka Flocka Flame, appreciates his music, and is still trying to get back to the court as soon as he can. If it's a little weird, it's only because a bunch of reporters are asking him about someone named "Waka Flocka Flame."
The real story here is Thibodeau, a man so uniformly committed to basketball that it's hard to imagine him listening to any music at all. Nevertheless, Thibs claims to know of Waka due to his players' discussing his work in the locker room, and even says he approves of the philosophy of "Hard in Da Paint." I'm guessing he's not familiar with the song's lyrical references to selling drugs and dropping out of school, but who cares when the title explains the Bulls' defensive philosophy so well.
Oh, by the way, it turns out that Rose is not playing against Miami. Thibodeau has not yet expressed his opinion of "No Hands," but we will provide updates if and when he does.