With less than 2 minutes to go in a game already decided, Rose went up for a mid lane floater. In mid air, he grasped his knee and passed the ball off. I could feel the air leave the entire city of Chicago. Everyone knew the injury was serious. Rose’s ACL tear was only the first of a multitude of injuries that were to follow. Fans waited for The Return, The Return 2.0 and every other return after that.
At first, Rose had the support of every Bulls fan in the nation. Everyone wanted to see the former MVP return to his pre-injury form. But, as the injuries piled up, more and more fans, and even members of the Bulls management, began to grow impatient. Now, in 2015, Rose has fallen out of love with the Chicago fan base, as well as his teammates and the Bulls management. It’s not because of the injuries. Injuries happen, it is rarely an athlete’s fault that an injury occurs, but Rose’s attitude throughout the last 3 and a half years has not been good, to say the least.
After missing significant time in consecutive seasons, Rose had the audacity to tell everyone in Chicago that “I think a lot of people don’t understand that when I sit out, it’s not because of this year. I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball, having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to… I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. Just learning and being smart.’’ Every Bulls fan cringed when Rose said those words. Here is Derrick Rose, the guy everyone is pulling for to be healthy, saying that he’s not sitting due to health, but because he doesn’t want to be sore in his old age.
More recently, Rose slipped up again at a press conference. He started talking about how he wanted to be paid big bucks when he becomes a free agent in 2017. Most players, when asked about free agency, say they are focusing on the season and dodge the question. Rose brought up the topic himself, and isn’t even a free agent until after next season. Rose’s comments suggest that his focus is not entirely centered on helping the Bulls win. Already impatient, these comments only fueled the fire that has led to Rose’s fallout in Chicago.
Besides, in the 3 seasons that Rose has missed significant time due to injury, other players have stepped into the spotlight. Jimmy Butler has become an all-star caliber player. Pau Gasol has proven he is still elite even as a veteran player. Even Nikola Mirotic, who the Bulls drafted out of the Euro League, has made a major contribution so far in the young season. Rose, however, has been abysmal this season. Although it is early, Rose has totaled 10.2 ppg while shooting a horrid 33.9% from the field, including 0% (0-8) from 3-point range. I know it’s early. But Rose is clearly not the leader of this team. The Bulls have moved on to Jimmy Butler as their star player. And with the support for Rose at an all time low, and the fact that he is not helping the team’s cause, we could be seeing Rose’s departure from Chicago sooner rather than later.