Derrick Rose is driven, if you haven't noticed.
He's arguably the most motivated player in the game. Giving him more motivation spells trouble for the rest of the league, but that's currently what people are doing by not treating him like the reigning Most Valuable Player.
Despite being last year's MVP, Rose appears to not be viewed like typical MVP's. He's not talked about as much as LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, or even elite players who have never won the MVP, like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and even Blake Griffin.
Rose is respected, don't get me wrong, but he's not revered as the league's pinnacle player.
Frankly, some strangely don't even view him as a top-five player. In ESPN's player rankings that ran over the summer, Rose landed at No. 8.
No. 8? Excuse me?
The man averaged 25 points per game and eight assists per game and led the Bulls to an NBA-best 62 wins. And he's just the eighth-best player in the league?
It's understandable if a player as gifted as LeBron is ranked No. 1, or even if Howard's prowess is more fearful, but to list seven players ahead of D-Rose is unfathomable.
Interestingly, Paul took No. 4 in these rankings despite having weaker numbers than Rose (15.9 PPG, 9.8 APG) and not even escaping the first round of the playoffs.
We all know CP3 can ball, but Rose is at another level. He adamantly proved this with a 29-point, 16-assist showing against CP3 and the Clippers earlier this season. Statement made.
What's evident is that the media doesn't regard D-Rose like a true MVP. It's like he made a good story by winning it last season, but he's not genuinely an MVP winner to fear.
And it's not just the media who permeates these ideas. It's the fans, referees and even some players.
Fans (unless one is a Bulls fan) exude these ideas by downplaying Rose's ability and questioning if he can legitimately lead the Bulls to a championship. More fans still seem to think an aging Kobe Bryant has a better shot at leading his Lakers to a title than a young, dominant D-Rose.
Referees magnify this by still hesitating to blow the whistle on many of Rose's penetrations. He certainly doesn't hear the whistle as much as LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Kobe, who have earned a homage in which they always receive the "benefit of the doubt" from the officials. It's not this way with D-Rose.
And players, while respecting Rose, do not express an esteem for Rose like he deserves. I mean, shouldn't Howard be begging to be traded to Chicago so he can team with D-Rose? But he isn't. In fact, Chicago's barely even made his wish list.
Ideas such as these are prevalent in NBA jargon. Derrick Rose, for some reason, is still doubted.
Maybe it's because of his steady humility, which is mature beyond his years and rare for professional sports stars. He willingly accepts blame for his failures, never making excuses. Some perhaps see this as a weakness, but this is truthfully a unique strength.
Or maybe it's because he's still too young, or possibly too small.
Whatever the cause is for these doubts, they are entirely unjustified. He's the reigning Most Valuable Player but people are still treating him like he just won Rookie of the Year.
Treating D-Rose like this fuels his motivation all the more. He deserves to be treated like the MVP that he is, and he's going to do whatever it takes to prove he's on top of the basketball world.