To be young, gifted and … Derrick Rose.
The 22-year-old Chicago Bulls all star guard is the NBA’s MVP, becoming the youngest player in league history to capture the award and ending the two-year reign of Miami Heat star forward LeBron James.
“Unbelievable, a goal that in the beginning in the year I said I wanted to achieve,” said Rose, who joins five-time winner and six-time champion Michael Jordan as the only players in team history so honored. “It’s huge, not only for me, but for the city.”
Equally compelling is the storyline of how the Chicago born star has managed to make basketball relevant again town he grew up in. The top pick in 2008 draft, Rose has been named Rookie of the Year, an all-star starter and now MVP in his first three seasons.
“Why can’t I be the best player in the league,” Rose told ESPN earlier this year. “I don’t see why not. Why can’t I do that? I think I work hard. I think I dedicate myself to the game and sacrifice a lot of things at a young age, and I know if I continue to do good, what I can get out of it.”
For the first time since the days of Jordan, Bulls fans are finally getting all they could hope for from their team. Chicago earned the league’s best regular season record and top playoff seed this year with Rose joining the likes of Jordan, James, Oscar Robinson, Jerry West, Larry Bird, and Dwyane Wade as the only players in league history to average at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and 4 rebounds.
“I think it’s great and well-deserving,” outspoken teammate Joakim Noah said of Rose’s latest accomplishment. “I think it’s a situation where everybody knows it’s his. It’s not like somebody else deserves it. It’s for him and I’m happy for him, but there’s really no time to celebrate it right now. We’re in a dogfight against Atlanta. "
The Bulls resume their Eastern Conference semifinal round matchup against the Hawks Wednesday trailing 1-0. -Glenn Minnis