Hard-working, appreciative, passionate, creative, relentless. The adjectives that describe Derrick Rose are the same reasons why the City of Chicago beams with pride to call him one of their own. The local kid showed off his humble side in the press conference after the announcement of a freshly inked, 5-year $94.8 million extension that will kick in at the beginning of next season.
After thanking his fans, coaching staff, family and friends for shaping the person he is today. Rose turned to his mother.
"I think I can finally say this now. Mom, I finally made it."
(photo credit: wikimedia.org)
When it comes to Rose's bank account, made it he has.
On the court however, there is still much work to be done. Rose insists the money won't change him, and that he will remain as hungry as ever. If being the lead man at Adidas, the toast of his hometown, and several millions already in the bank haven't changed him, why would this?
Take it from Bulls center Joakim Noah.
"He wants to put his city on his back," the flamboyant seven-footer told ESPNChicago.com's Jon Greenberg. "He's always talking about Chicago. I love that. It's so cool."
To a man, Bulls beat reporters including The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, Bulls.com's Sam Smith and The Daily Herald's Mike McGraw all marvel at the Windy City's biggest star and his ability to stay grounded through it all.
Coach Tom Thibodeau also sounded pretty pleased to count Rose as his starting point guard for the forseeable future.
"He embodies all the characteristics that you look for," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It's a lot more than the talent. The talent is the obvious part. Then, when you look at his will to win, basketball IQ, unselfishness, his humility -- I think those are the things that you can build a championship-caliber team around."
In the summer of 2010 many Chicago fans, salivated at the possibility of LBJ and/or another local icon, Dwyane Wade, joining forces with Rose in a Wolverine and Cyclops meet Spiderman-like alliance. Luckily, it wasn't to be.
Hindsight being what it is, how nice is it for Bulls fans to know that LeBron James will never compromise the sparkling basketball tradition in Chicago? As it's been said, Michael Jordan would never have dreamed of joining Larry and Magic. No. 23 was driven to be the greatest ever, knowing he'd have to beat the best to get there. Rose takes that same mentality when he refuses to recruit other superstars to play alongside him at the United Center.
That way of thinking goes hand-in-hand with how Chicagoans view themselves.
A hard-working, often blue-collared group of people that doesn't expect anything more than what they've earned, throwing LeBron James on the Bulls would have taken away some of what it means to win a championship in Chicago. It'd be like the city stealing the NBA title.
At the end of the day, the City of big shoulders really didn't have any room for the silly loud-mouth antics of LeBron and his cronies.
Besides, for the next six seasons at least, Chicago's basketball future is coming up Rose's.
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