Derrick Rose has been through a lot of things in Chicago. When he first came back home after his one year at the University of Memphis, it was thought he would take the Bulls back to the Promised Land. The 2008 number one overall pick started his career off in style, obtaining the 2008-2009 NBA Rookie Of The Year award after averaging 16 points and six assists a game for Chicago. And it would only get better for Rose in his first three years. In 2011, he became the youngest MVP in NBA history at 22 years and six months old. The sky seemed to be the limit for what he could accomplish with this Bulls team. But unfortunately, the success was few and far between since that year. After signing his five- year, $94.3 million contract, the good times began to become troubling times for Rose. His health has failed him over the last five years, suffering injuries to his face, hamstrings and knees. And with that, the faith in him to lead the Bulls to another championship began to wane. And with missing the playoffs and Jimmy Butler emerging as the star player of the Bulls, Chicago management felt it was time to move him. The Bulls shipped Rose, a 2017 second-round draft pick and guard Justin Holiday to the New York Knicks for guards Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon along with center Robin Lopez. So for Rose, the hometown journey is over, but it isn’t like his hometown is gone from him completely.
Rose has come to grips with him being traded to New York obviously. If you watched his press conference, he actually thanked the Bulls for trading him. But with so many doubting what he will or will not do, Rose can only think back on where he came from and that is Chicago. With a new team for the first time, Rose is changing his number to 25. Now plenty may not understand the meaning of that number, but one person they may want to research when it comes to that number is Benji Wilson. Many may not be familiar with him, but he was one of the titans of Chicago Basketball in the early 1980’s. In 1984, the 6’8″ forward was named the top recruit in the country and was going to be one of the biggest stars to ever grace the sport according to many. But unfortunately, that did not happen. Wilson was shot by Billy Moore near Chicago’s Simeon High School campus after bumping into him while trying to chase down his girlfriend and mother of his child, Jetun Rush, to try and settle something between them. And just like that, We were robbed of Wilson and his greatness. But his greatness lived on at Simeon and it was lived out through his number 25. Only the special players wore that number at Simeon. And one of those special players was Derrick Rose.
The talented guard was a force with the Simeon Wolverines and led them to back-to-back state championships, becoming the first Chicago public school team to make that happen. Rose was an explosive player that had any and everyone wanting to recruit him. Those were the days that Rose was making a name for himself and also were the days where he embodied himself to the city of Chicago. Now that he is gone to New York, he is looking for a fresh start. And why not change the number to bring it back where his legend all began, Simeon High School? That was where Derrick Rose began to become the Derrick Rose that captured everyone’s attention and that had everyone wondering how good he could be. Of course, that type of athleticism is not there for Derrick Rose anymore. The surgeries over the years have unfortunately robbed him of that type of athleticism ever coming back. But one thing that the surgeries cannot rob him of his a new beginning.
Many can debate what Rose will or will not do in New York. And that debate will continue to go on and on until the beginning of the season. But what thing that cannot be debated is he has a fresh start. And in that fresh start, he is reaching back in his past to bring to his future. And with Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and maybe other pieces, Rose could potentially touch some of that magic that happened when he was a youngster in the NBA. But even if he doesn’t touch that magic, he is keeping it Chicago all the way in New York. Long live the memory of Benji Wilson and long live the number 25.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former cohost of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs, and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.
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