Perhaps the most curious tendency of Man is to claim to want something very badly, only to quickly ask for more shortly after getting it. The Indians won 22 games in a row this year, only for Tribe fans to turn around and say it didn’t mean anything after losing in the playoffs. Young professionals go from rags to riches up the corporate ladder, then complain about peers getting paid more. Although businessmen get a rather bad rap these days, the same principle is held by young hoopsters across America. Athletes could finally find the long elusive contentedness in life if they could just play in the NBA. But just as many top executives end up being crooks, Derrick Rose has become a flashing yellow light warning that there’s more to success in life than just getting to a certain station.
Fans always seem to be willing to sweep the misdeeds of their idols under the rug. That is, as long as he’s playing well. When Lebron was just starting to dominate the Eastern Conference, the Bulls were team A2. Chicago was an exciting, legitimate challenger for the title. It’s easy for a fan to say at this point, “well, were it not for the injuries…” But just as good entertainers always leave the fans wanting more, fans are extremely welcoming-desperate, almost-when a star returns. But Rose stands out in two important ways. One, he has an undeniably large amount of talent. This meant fans had an unusual amount of patience for his return. Second, Rose seemed unable to master the other 9/10th half of the game-the mental side.
Rose’s injury saga began with an untimely knee ailment in 2012. Doctors cleared him to return but-to put it charitably-he couldn’t muster up enough mental fortitude to return. It was like a caution being removed at the racetrack, only for the leader to immediately spin his wheels. Eventually Rose recovered to hit a buzzer-beater against the Cavs in the playoffs. But, alas, the Bulls ran out of gas, then quickly slipped into the cellar. Rose departed to New York, the forsaken metropolis of the NBA, and out of the public eye. Although eventually cleared in court, Rose’s ongoing sexual assault litigation seemed to be the last straw for his career aspirations. But earlier this year, the retooling Cavs gave Rose a shot to replace the esteemed Kyrie Irving as point guard. Would Rose find his forgotten self, or would there be trouble in paradise?
Initially, Rose acquitted himself well. But-quelle surprise!-the injury bug bit again. This finally proved to be too much. Rose mysteriously left the team, apparently looking for some elusive answer. He is welcomed back, but the Cavs’ 12 game winning streak without him makes one wonder how much he’s really needed. Rose’s story is now a riddle that’s becoming increasingly difficult to solve.
It seems that the more specific and grand a dream, the less grand it actually is when one realizes it. Who could really fault Rose for dreaming big after entering the league as the number one pick? But when life twists one around, it greatly helps to gain a new perspective. Many Americans encounter a tragedy in their lives that makes a goal impossible, but find meaning in a fresh field of ideas and aspirations. But Rose kept aiming at an all-or-nothing target of superstardom, and kept shooting wider off the mark after each miss. Already Memphis has become an also-ran, and the Bulls but a brightly shining mess. If Rose can’t adjust to life on the bench, soon he, too, will become just a footnote in the history book of men who kept their eye on the ball-even as it was being passed further and further up-court.