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Associated Press/Photo by Nam Y. Huh

Bud to bloom

Sports | Derrick Rose offers a most valuable lesson in humility and great success

Issue: "After Osama," May 21, 2011

Just one year ago, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose was smarting from his team's first-round playoff exit after a season in which he made just 16 total 3-pointers and earned a reputation as a talented point guard who simply could not shoot. Today, Rose has the Bulls in the midst of a deep playoff run after leading them to the best record in the league. And his shooting? Try 128 regular season 3-pointers and a reputation as one of the most dangerous scorers in the game.

The transformation was enough to earn the 22-year-old team captain the NBA's MVP award, making him the youngest player ever to receive the honor. Award voters could not ignore the 25 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. Never mind that Rose routinely carried the Bulls on his back with fourth-quarter heroics reminiscent of the last Chicago star to claim MVP honors.

But Rose is not simply a developing player who has found his shooting stroke. He is a developing person who has found his voice.

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Summoned to a podium to receive his award at a Marriott just outside his hometown of Chicago, Rose delivered a deep and humble dash of oratory color to accompany his remarkable bloom: "First, I want to thank God for giving me the ability to go out there and play the way that I'm playing." He went on to thank the league, teammates, coaches, Bulls management, trainers, family, and friends, capping the run of gratitude with a three-minute tribute to his mother as he fought back tears: "My heart. The reason why I play the way I play. . . . You keep me going every day, and I love you. I appreciate you being in my life."

The young man's deepest commitments lay etched in the tattoo art that covers much of his body-the cross on his right bicep, the words "God's Child" scrolled across his upper back, the name of his mother Brenda extending down his right wrist and hand.

"I'm not here to shout, boast, or preach," the soft-spoken Rose once said. No need when game and life are loud enough.

Game changer

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, transcended all other news, spilling even onto sports media outlets. Almost 10 years later, the death of Osama bin Laden over­shadowed the sports world in similar fashion. Here is a look at some of the reaction:

• The day after the news broke, the San Diego Padres donned camouflage jerseys for their contest with Pittsburgh and offered free tickets to any active or retired military personnel.

• Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall took a critical stance on his Twitter page: "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak." Mendenhall went on to question whether "a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style." Team president Art Rooney II promptly released a statement: "The entire Steelers organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon."

• Tweeted Irish golfer Rory McIlroy: "Bye bye bin Laden!! Good riddance I say!!"

• The NBA heightened security for its two playoff games in Chicago and L.A. the day after bin Laden's death, greeting fans at the arena with metal detector wands.

• At Fenway Park in Boston, players from the Red Sox and visiting Angels stood along the foul lines for a moment of silence to honor the 9/11 victims and military personnel who have died in combat.


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