The 2021-2022 NBA season is well underway. A 33-year-old Derrick Rose is averaging a nothing special yet solid 12.8 PPG on 47% shooting as the 6th man for the New York Knicks. However, a decade ago at this time, Rose was proving to be one of the best players in the NBA, as he was on his way to becoming the youngest NBA MVP ever, at the age of just 22. But after that MVP we witnessed Rose go from the top of the world to the bottom of it. Injury after injury, struggle after struggle, just trying to find a way to try to rise up again. This is the story of the Rose that never blossomed, as we look back at the decade anniversary of Rose’s historic MVP.
Rose grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He was a standout player throughout his childhood. Rose committed to Memphis University, went there for one year, before being drafted first overall to his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls. The past decade had been rough for the Bulls. The legendary Micheal Jordan had been long gone, and they never really had “that guy” throughout the 2000s, minus a couple of spurts from Ben Gordon.
In his rookie season, Rose played in 81 games, starting in 80 of them. He averaged 16.8 PPG, 6 APG, and 3 RPG on 47% shooting. It was clear Rose was a special talent. His high flying antics and slashing ability earned him the rookie of the year award. In his sophomore season, Rose was named to his first all-star team. He was only 21 at the time. But his 3rd season is when Rose took an even bigger leap. He led the Bulls to the first seed in the East, averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists, and 4 rebounds. All while shooting 44.5% from the field, which was very efficient in the early 2010s. As a result, Rose was awarded MVP over some other superstars like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The Bulls would be eliminated in the playoffs but, the future was bright. They were ready to go back into next year at full strength with even more experience, or so they thought.
It’s the first round of the 2012 playoffs. The Bulls are up by more than enough late in the 4th quarter against the 76ers. This is a 1 seed vs 8 seed matchup and should be a routine advance for the Bulls. For whatever reason, however, Derrick Rose is still on the court. He, like he is so good at, drives down the lane. He goes in for the hop step and has a horrible landing. He holds onto his knee in pain. It’s a torn ACL. The Bulls would not only lose their young star, but they’d also lose that series. What followed are 2 years Derrick Rose probably wants to forget. He missed all of the 12-13 season, and only played 10 games in the 13-14 season, as injuries continued to nag him. In the 14-15 playoffs, Rose had his last shining moment as a Bull. He hits a fade away 3 game winner to put the Bulls up in an ECSF series with the Cavs 2-1. However, they would lose that series. What followed that up was another 3 years Rose would like to also forget. After another non-all-star year, Rose was shipped off to the Knicks in 2016. He continued to get injured time and time again. He then started the 2017 season with the Cavs. It didn’t work out. He was traded to the Wolves, where more struggles met him. It looked like his career was done.
But then, something special happened. It’s Halloween night, 2018. Your typical early regular season matchup. Until Derrick Rose happened. Rose dominated all night. Giving us flashbacks of the past while also showing us how he’s adapted his game since the injury with jumper after jumper. It’s crunch time. Rose hits the go ahead basket to give him 50 points. He then secures the win with a game-sealing block. The emotions pour through. Rose is mobbed by his teammates. After all those years of pain, he got his moment once again. This game changed the course of Rose’s career almost as much as the injury did, but this time for the better. He is now one of the best 6th men in the league and has had multiple 30-point games in both the regular season and playoffs since that night.
Derrick Rose may be the biggest what-if in basketball history. How many MVP’s could he have had? Could he have taken down LeBron? Would he have been the greatest PG of all time? We’ll never know. But Rose’s story teaches us that no matter what, we can persevere. And that folks, is the story of the rose that never blossomed, Derrick Rose.