By Lamar Battle
In a career that could easily qualify as a feature film, Derrick Rose scored 50 points in a Minnesota home victory over the Utah Jazz.
Derrick broke down in a display of emotion that coincided with the outpouring of love from his teammates and Minnesota fans after the final horn in a game in which he hit the clinching free throws to seal the victory.
Why sports? What makes it so compelling? Why do we rush to see the latest musical or theatrical performance? Perhaps it’s because we respect and appreciate the hours on top of hours the performer put into his or her craft. It doesn’t matter the discipline, the commitment is the same.
In Derrick Rose, we have surprisingly the personification of that dynamic. The Minnesota fans gave their vocal acknowledgment of this player in part because Derricks struggles were well known but also because sport allows the casual observer an opportunity to peer into the souls of people who have put themselves on the line for all to see.
Derrick Rose was a shooting star in full ascendancy when he was felled by not one but two debilitating knee surgeries that changed his career forever. Derrick moved from His original team the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers who eventually traded him to the Denver Nuggets who subsequently released him.
Emblazoned in the minds of pro basketball fans worldwide was that of Derrick in a dimly lit gymnasium shooting shots with a single kid rebounding his shots was at equal points rueful and tough to watch. We were witnessing yet another athlete past his prime reaching once again for that source of solace that solitary shooting provides.
Sports history is replete with players whose careers were sidetracked by injury but what Derrick Rose reminded us of was that every now and then we can bear witness to a person that absolutely refuses to give up on himself and the game he loves to exhibit what actor Denzel Washington once referred to as the experience of flying where one does not have time to look down.
Derrick Rose in his own words humbled himself and re-constructed his game so that he would be in a position to contribute to the young players on his team.
What we saw was an exhibition of one of Chicago’s finest prove yet again that nothing is beyond reach if one is willing to pay the price.