There isn't another athlete on the planet like Derrick Rose.
Since tearing his ACL last April, we have learned a lot about the Chicago Bulls superstar. We've seen a side of him we had not witnessed before.
We always knew he was dedicated. Heck, his perpetual silence implied that he was humble. But the extent of his humility, the depths of his determination and commitment were never fully realized prior to "The Return of D Rose" campaign.
"With this documentary I just want people to know who I am as a person," Rose says in the opening of his campaign's latest episode. "I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for my fans. They are my fans, like, for a reason."
At a time when Rose can—and rightfully should—be focused on his well-being, he remains devoted to his fans, to his city. He looks at them—not his leg—and sees the reason why he has become who he is, the reason he has established himself as an icon.
And that is not to be overlooked or chastised. Rarely are athletes of Rose's caliber so affable, so gracious or so appreciative.
"I don't know how many times I've been out and people just came up to me saying that, like, just seeing little snippets of the documentary like inspired them," he said.
He feeds off those reactions. He is motivated by the loyalty that has been reciprocated by his fans. And that has left him fighting, harder than ever, to ensure a successful return to the hardwood.
Just as notably, though, he has never lost sight of what is also truly important—his team.
It would be easy for Rose's almost nonexistent ego to become caught up and engulfed in the overwhelming public support he has received. It would be easy for him to declare himself Chicago's savior.
But that's not him. Even off the court, often within the confines of a weight room, he attempts to not only lead the Bulls by example, but show his gratitude through hard work.
"I got a lot of confidence with the team that we have," he explains. "They see me lifting all the time, shootin', just trying to do extra just to show them that just because I'm not on the court with them that I'm still working my butt off so that I can get back on the court as quick as possible."
This is no ordinary recovery. This particular rehabilitation takes an abundance of time and diligence to execute. Rose knows it, and so do his teammates.
But that's not enough. Not for him. He still feels the need to prove to his team that he is behind them, that he wants to return to the court for them just as much as the fans.
This is what we never understood previously, what we never had the opportunity to understand about Rose. He isn't just prepared to give as much as he can to this game, to his team or to his fans—he's prepared to give everything.
"That's my life. That's what you're not understanding," Rose admits. "I would die on that court. Like, die. I'm gonna go all in for it."
Well, we may not have understood it before, but after watching the grueling path Rose continues to take toward recovery, all the while depicting the embodiment of commitment and composure, we sure as hell understand it now.
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