Derrick Rose makes emotional return to Chicago as Knicks stay hot

CHICAGO — In a moment of reversal of roles, Derrick Rose he had become the interrogator.

About an hour before the The New York Knicks played in his hometown of Chicago, Rose had posed a question to a group of reporters surrounding his locker at the United Center.

“Can anyone here name a famous gladiator?” he asked her.

The question arose as part of a thoughtful response to a mainstream sports topic. His head coach, Tom Thibodeau, had called him a Hall of Famer at a pregame news conference moments earlier. Rose was the leader of the best. Bulls teams since Michael Jordan’s second retirement. The possibility of the organization. withdrawing his number one day has been the talk of the week with the Knicks playing a two-game series in Chicago.

Is the Hall something the former MVP aspires to?

“Who wouldn’t want to be in the Hall of Fame one day?” Rose pondered. “But there are a couple of ways you could look at it.”

He kept talking but never mentioned Roman history. Or the Coliseum. Or even Russell Crowe. But finally, he brought up that question about gladiators.

Most of the reporters were stumped. We couldn’t name a famous gladiator. For some reason, Spartacus wasn’t on the tip of anyone’s tongue.

Some loose answers. One person suggested Conan the Barbarian. Rose’s head snapped from right to left, looking at the group and waiting for a name.

Still no answer.

Rose smiled as if she was about to give the dreaded thumbs down. Our silence had proven her point.

“In 200, 300 years, nobody is going to care what happened,” he said. “For me, the knowledge, the wisdom, the love, the capital that I got from this sport allowed me to do a lot, and I am very thankful and thankful for that. I feel like the things I want to do after basketball are going to be bigger than what I do in basketball.”

But for one night, whether because of what he did inside an arena or not, Rose’s basketball legacy defied convention.

There’s a fable that former All-Star guard Jerry Stackhouse tells about a time he hit a guy so hard that the next time he saw that person, the guy thanked Stackhouse for the beating because it helped him turn around. life. This game, with the Knicks as hot as ever en route to a 114-91 win over a Bulls squad sinking to the bottom of the conference, felt like an ode to that Stackhouse legend.

The fans erupted as Rose ran past the bench. Chants of “MVP!” started. The Knicks had annihilated the Bulls long enough that the only second-half crowd sounds were boos or the clatter of soles hitting concrete as crowds rushed to the exits early.

Until they saw Rose.

“I know what it means to this city, to the fans, to the Bulls,” Thibodeau said. “And I know how he feels about the Bulls and the city, so it was really nice to see him.”

This is where Rose built her legacy. It’s where she won Rookie of the Year. It’s where he became the youngest MVP in league history. It’s where he suffered his first major injury. And then his second his.

It’s the place that, when someone mentions your name years from now, people will think of first.

rj barrett he remembers it well.

“I grew up watching it,” Barrett said.

When the Knicks acquired Rose two years ago, Barrett was reminded of the days when Rose faced LeBron James. Miami Heat. A teenage Barrett was a James superfan and knew the inevitability of Rose, who, in her heyday, was as explosive a shooting guard as any to ever lift a basketball.

It is not often that a nba the player is dazzled by another.

“I had to get my hobby out of the way,” Barrett said. “I approached him. I said, ‘Hey, man. I am a great fan. You know I’m a fan. Nice to meet you.’ Whatever, and that was it. I dropped it from there.

When Rose took the field, Bulls fans were on their feet and clapping every time he touched the ball. He drained a 3 almost immediately. The crowd grew even more raucous.

During the final minutes of the game, they booed the Bulls and cheered for only one singular player from the opposing team, a man who is the epitome of the last time Chicago had a contender.

“You never know how important, the way we played back then, how it affects people,” Rose said. “And to come here and see all the love and receive all the love that we received, it was unreal.”

Rose’s fiancé, Alaina, and the children roared from the stands. Alaina texted him after the final ring that someone was cutting onions.

Rose was at least able to maintain her composure.

“I could block it a little bit, but that’s because I’m actually playing,” he said. “I have to get that out of my mind before I go out and play, but if it was more of a ceremony, I’m sure it would have affected me.”

There are good reasons why questions about Rose’s legacy were raised even before such an emotional moment occurred.

Sure, Rose was back in Chicago for a two-game series against the team he began his career with. But this wasn’t just about where Rose was geographically. It was also about where he is today in his career.

Before the end of the victory on Friday, he had not played for five games in a row.

Thibodeau told Rose, his dearest faithful, almost two weeks ago that he wanted to take a look at miles mcbride, the 22-year-old point guard the Knicks selected in the second round a couple of summers ago. McBride’s spirited defense has contributed to half a dozen consecutive victories, and New York hasn’t lost a game since. It’s the longest winning streak in the East.

Doubts about the Knicks have been dispelled during this stretch.

The biggest wonder these days is how long the best team in the Eastern Conference can keep this up.

But with Rose, specifically, there’s more to ask, like, what’s next?

He is 34 years old. Just a year ago, he was arguably the biggest player in New York. But after a couple of ankle surgeries, he fell down the pecking order. He has accepted the demotion without discussion. His name has come up in the trade negotiations, as previously said by league sources. the athletic.

You would like to continue playing. Last season, he said he wanted “Tom Brady,” referencing the famous quarterback he just can’t seem to give up. On Friday he said he would stay “until they kick me out.”

“I feel healthy,” he said. “I’m not trying to (take) a young man’s place in the team, but I feel like I’m healthy enough to play. I can still add something to the team.”

And so the questions about Rose, much like Rose’s quizzes about Roman history, go unanswered.

But no matter what, you’ll always have Chicago.

“That’s why I never speak ill of the franchise or the people of the franchise,” Rose said. “Because while I was here, there was nothing but love.”

(Photo by Ayo Dosunmu and Derrick Rose: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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