It’s been nearly five months since Derrick Rose injured his left knee, tearing his ACL, effectively ending any chance and hopes the Chicago Bulls had of making it deep in the postseason. His recovery process, documented by Adidas in ‘The Return of D Rose‘ and everything revolving his life at the moment caused the former NBA MVP to break down in tears at the launch of his new sneaker.
There was a huge media event in Chicago for the D Rose 3, but it wasn’t the shoes that stole the show. After one of the return videos was shown on screen, about 30 minutes into the show, Derrick Rose couldn’t come up with the words, not being able to hold back the tears, overcome with emotion, giving a glimpse of how hard it’s been for Rose to handle this comeback attempt after being at the highest place possible, reaching it so quickly and early in his NBA career before hitting rock bottom after an injury-plagued season.
Adidas Vice President of Global Basketball, Lawrence Norman, stepped in to break the silence, disrupted only by the camera flashes: I know it’s emotional. You just have to understand that you’re inspiring millions of fans with your comeback. But the purpose of “The Return” goes both ways, because they’re inspiring you.
Whether it’s communicating with you on Facebook or Twitter, or the millions and millions of hits on your videos. Inspiration goes both ways, so maybe you can tell us about some of the inspiration you’re getting from your fans.
Rose took his time, and another 30 seconds of silence fell on the place, with the cameras and flashes still clicking away.
It’s truly a blessing. With all of the stuff that’s going on in this city, a kid from Englewood has got something positive going on. That makes me feel so good. This shoe is great; all this is great. But I can’t explain this. I can’t. I went through so much. To have, like, true fans, that means a lot to me. And I know it means a lot to my family, because we’re not supposed to be here. At all. But God made the way. This is truly unreal. I’m just happy that I have true fans out there.
There’s something special about Rose the person, not the basketball player. The way he shies away from media attention, despite being the biggest sports star in Chicago and one of the top 5 (Pretty much) most popular basketball stars in the world today. He didn’t have much growing up, and suddenly being surrounded by fans (6 million Facebook fans, 260k twitter followers) and media attention; success and money, can be overwhelming.
Rose doesn’t get out of his apartment much. He’s confessed to that himself. He likes his privacy, and having to deal with the news of not being able to play basketball for nearly a year has been rough on him. From the promise of the league to a rehab case, as the Bulls seems to have given up on any high aspirations for the coming season, with Rose speculated to return around March.
There’s the fear of not being as good like before. There’s the fear of being afraid to play like yourself on the court. Rose can be one of the biggest stars in the NBA and the world, more than just a franchise player, for more than a decade if pieces fall in the right way for him. But knowing you’re watched at every step and acknowledging how many people are behind you can be overwhelming, even for some of the biggest sports stars in the world.