Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose has never been the type to shy away from a challenge. Who could forget three years ago at media day, when Rose sat alone at a press conference, and claimed, “Why can’t I be MVP?” Derrick took a similar challenge Thursday when CNN’s Pedro Pinto asked him who the best player in the NBA is. “Derrick Rose.”
At first glance, this statement seems preposterous. Rose’s last NBA game was Game One of the 2012 Playoffs, which was 454 days ago. Rose is coming off an ACL injury, arguably the worst injury a basketball player can incur. And most of all, Rose could hardly be described as the best player in the league, even during his MVP season in 2011. LeBron James is far and away the best. While he may have been in the conversation for second, that was hardly set in stone either.
However, Derrick Rose is coming off of an injury that can perhaps be considered more mental than physical. It takes confidence to get back on an NBA basketball court, the same arena where an individual suffered debilitating injury. And it takes even more to believe they can play the same way they did in the past.
Derrick Rose wouldn’t say that he is the best player in the league if he didn’t believe he was, right now. What Derrick Rose is saying is that he is back.
Derrick very well may unrealistic expectations of his skills, but it’s the same unrealistic confidence that allowed him to accomplish superhuman feats during his MVP season. You HAVE to have the confidence that ever layup will fall, ever jumper will go in, and that no one in the NBA can guard you if you wish to be a top five NBA player, the type of player Derrick Rose is and will continue to be heading forward.
If Derrick and the Chicago Bulls manage to get past LeBron James the Miami Heat and win the NBA Championship, we will look back at this statement with fondness, but not with surprise. If “Why can’t I be MVP” has taught us anything, it’s not to doubt Derrick Rose.