OPINION: The Rose that grew from the concrete

Dante Centofanti

The 2010-11 NBA season was a season full of turmoil for 12-year-old me. The Cavaliers had just lost my favorite player of all time the year before in free agency, and then proceeded to have the the longest single season losing streak in league history at the time, resulting in Cleveland having the first and fourth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Through the turmoil of that season, I was in the midst of looking for a new favorite player, and I just couldn’t pick one. During that season, a third-year point guard from the south side of Chicago caught my eye. He was tearing up the sport, averaging 25 points a game, complete with gravity defying two-handed jams that seemed to jump off the screen.

The man I’m talking about is Derrick Martell Rose.  

Rose is from Chicago, one of the basketball holy grounds. He took Dr. James Naismith’s game to new heights when he burst onto the scene at the University of Memphis. His 2007-08 freshman season for the Tigers was the best single-season performance I have ever seen while watching college basketball. There are rare times in sports where an athlete just owns the game. That was one of them.

By the time “D-Rose” entered the NBA in 2008, he was an established brand. He won Rookie of the Year that season and would later win MVP in 2011. He also made Adidas’ sneakers cool again.

In a first-round playoff matchup against the 76ers in 2012, Rose saw his career hit a massive standstill: He suffered a torn ACL, and then immediately tore his right meniscus when he returned from injury.

The storyline going into every season for the majority of this decade would be “can he stay healthy?” Between 2013 and 2017, he played for both the Bulls and New York Knicks before signing with the Cavaliers in 2017. But, during the season, he took time away from basketball to contemplate his future in the sport. Now in his 11th season, Derrick Rose is with the Minnesota Timberwolves. On Halloween night, in a throwback 2000’s jersey, Derrick Rose dropped 50 points on the Utah Jazz. He was splitting the defense and shooting from the field in vintage fashion.

After the game, NBA Twitter went insane. Players from Vince Carter, LeBron James and Steph Curry would acknowledge the greatness of his performance. D-Rose would be in tears in his postgame interview with Fox Sports North.

The long hours, years of rehab and nights he would put in at Cleveland State’s gym led to this! What happened to Rose, who is now 30, is without a doubt the biggest tragedy to happen to basketball. But what we witnessed Halloween night was nothing short of magical.

Chicago has produced NBA royalty, from Maurice Cheeks to Doc Rivers to Anthony Davis. But in my eyes, D-Rose is the greatest of all of them because he ignites the spirit of that amazing city: The hustle, the emotion and the pure love of basketball. Derrick Rose, thank you for all the magic you create, and there is much more to come. I’m sure you know that.

Dante Centofanti is a columnist. Contact him at Contact him at [email protected]