Within two hours of the end of the Bears incredible, if not frustrating at times, 2010 season, I posted on my Facebook Page that life was good because the Bulls were in first place. Yes, I obviously was trying to talk myself and my fellow Bear fans-friends in off the collective edge. But the beauty of being a Chicago fan is that the next day, there’s always another team to dominate your sporting interest. I then began to think about who is the current face of Chicago Sports. Growing up, I was pretty spoiled going from Walter Payton straight to Michael Jordan which spanned the time I became a 6-year-old sports fan in 1977 until the Final Shot when I was 27 in 1998.
For a little more than the decade, though, Chicago has lacked that face. A face that could be put on a billboard outside of O’Hare; one that screams “I am Chicago”. Sure, we’ve had guys like Sosa, Frank Thomas, Urlacher and now Kane that have rented that space on a month-to-month or maybe a seasonal basis. Guys that in other cities like Cleveland or Seattle or Atlanta would’ve been “The Face”. But not in Chicago – not in the city of revolutionary players like Halas, Grange, Butkus, Sayers, Banks, Payton and Jordan.
Make no mistake, we have that face now. One that barring injury or personal demons (that don’t seem to exist) will be on that billboard for the next decade and beyond. The new face of Chicago sports, maybe the greatest sports city in the world, was born when I was a senior in high school 22 years ago. That face, part childlike innocence and part assassin, belongs of course to Derrick Rose. We’ve marveled at the baby-faced assassin over his first two years. But as I’ve written previously, Derrick Rose has taken his game to another level in his third season. As I previously blogged, I originally thought he was another Isiah Thomas, I’ve realized now he’s much more explosive than Isiah – dare I say he’s a hybrid of Isiah and Michael Jordan?
When asked in the offseason about being the MVP – he responded “Why Not”. And really, at this point of the season, is there anybody in the NBA not named Lebron that you’d take to begin a franchise other than D Rose? Not Kobe, not at this stage in his career. Rose has the Bulls currently with the fourth best record in the NBA and their Big Three – Rose, Noah and Boozer – has only played together for nine games so far this season! I said four years, with only five TOTAL playoff victories, into MJ’s career, that he was too good not to win an NBA Championship. I’m saying the same thing about Rose. All he needs is a decent-to-good shooting guard averaging around 10-12 PPG and they’ll be raising more banners into the UC sky. Just 22 years old – wow – kind of makes the Beasley or Rose debate seem a little silly just a few years later.
Article by Bill Renje, new writer for ChiCitySports.