This past week we got a glimpse into the mind of Derrick Rose, the sixth year guard and 2011 NBA MVP. In December of 2011 Rose signed a new extension worth $95 million over five years. However his troubles would start soon as he would tear his ACL just four months later starting a string of injuries that have derailed his career. He missed the entire following season in recovering from the injury. In his return during the 2013-14 season he once again injured his knee and now this season he has battled ankle injuries. Since signing his big money contract extension Rose has played in a grand total of 15 games over three seasons. Now this week Rose released a statement on his injuries and mindset about playing the game.
“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 meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore because of something I did in the past. Just learning and being smart.” – Derrick Rose
There it is. Derrick Rose admits that he is thinking about his life after basketball. Yes we have seen the affects playing sports can have on the human body. Both mentally (concussions) and physically. Phil Jackson and Bill Walton walk stiff legged and numerous others struggle to get out of bed in the morning with creaks and aches. I know that society has changed. There is an emphasis on player safety. No longer are players the gladiators of the sport. They are now business men with various revenue streams other than just their salaries.
And that is the shame of the whole story. The glimpse into a professional athlete’s mind. That what they do is truly just a job to some of them. Fans watch sports to see athletically gifted people accomplish feats that a typical fan can not do. These blessed athletes make millions of dollars for playing a sport. And fans expect to see them play their hardest. Some people have tried defending Rose’s quote by saying well it is his job, his body, his life. But the moment he signed a professional contract, making millions of dollars because the fans spend their money to see him…..he opened himself up to be held to a higher standard and judged. He chose the spotlight and what comes with it.
The problem with Derrick Rose’s thinking is that it is a slippery slope. Who is to say he is giving 100% every game? What if his ankle is a little gimpy, will he go to the hole or just pull up for a shot. Rose’s game is built on speed and quickness. But that will fade as he gets older. Will he put in as much work needed to improve his game?
I think a perfect comparison is Dwayne Wade. Wade was a quick, athletically gifted guard who attacked the rim in his early years. But as his injuries piled up and he aged he had to change his game. Yes Wade sits out games during the year; just as Tim Duncan and Shaq and others have done, just as Rose has been doing. However Wade and the rest were thinking of their teams. A fresher body will help their teams in the playoffs. Rose made no mention of the team. He was only thinking of himself. Injuries slowed Rose’s career but the truly great players learn to adjust their game; Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, etc.
Yes Rose has dealt with injuries. His body is bruised and sore. But do you know what? He chose to play that sport. That was his decision. Just as it is the fans decision to support their team and players by buying their jerseys and going to games, watching on television; and allowing the players to be multi-millionaires. So Derrick Rose you may be thinking about your future and just being “honest” as some people have called it. But to me you have became just another face of the prima donna professional athlete; the player that wants everything, the lifestyle, the ends without dealing with the means.
Yes you and your family will be wealthy for generations to come but with your current mindset you will never be remembered by fans beyond this generation. You were called a next generation point guard. Someone to revolutionize the position. Injuries may have slowed that career but it is your choice and mindset that will ultimately hold you back from being the player you could have been. You can look back on your career, the MVP trophy, the millions of dollars, and it may look like a Rose; but that mindset of yours will be all the fans see; that thorn in the side of your career.