Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose Building a Legacy His Way

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls and the Eastern Conference drives for a shot attempt during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Rich KraetschCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2012

He may not be the next Michael Jordan, but there is no denying that Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is the biggest sports star in Chicago since MJ.

On the heels of an impressive, albeit short, showing at the NBA All-Star Game (18 minutes, 14 points and three assists) and an announcement from Adidas about a 14-year, $250 million contract, Rose is undoubtedly an international superstar.

What is most impressive about Rose is the way he has done it: being himself.

A constant professional, Rose has improved his game every single year en route to an MVP award last season, returning the Chicago Bulls franchise to the upper echelon of the NBA.

Unlike Jordan, who eventually embraced the role of superstar and put his mug and his likeness on every production imaginable, Rose has been a quiet superstar.

It is almost hard to tell Rose was the MVP last year. Rose is absolutely a top-tier NBA superstar but doesn't get nearly the same amount of press as a number of his colleagues.

Then again, he's also far less involved in creating lists of destination teams in his final year of free agency.

Still not the beneficiary of the supposed “superstar calls,” something especially noticed by Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, Rose seems to take it all in stride.

Even the All-Star Game introductions last night showed Rose’s true colors.

While superstars like Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard danced and jumped around, Rose stood stoic, merely opting for a smile and a wave.

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  (L-R) Eastern Conference All-Star starters Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls, LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat, Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic, Carmelo Anthony #15 of the New York Knicks and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Mi
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Despite drawing criticism for being so stone-faced, Rose again could not help just being himself:

You just know that's me, man. If you would have saw me out there dancing, you would have been looking at me different. I'm just me. I can't be anybody else. I think that's what people see.

Not a manufactured superstar, not someone looking to be a crossover star when his NBA career is over, Rose is just a basketball player from Chicago, nothing more, nothing less.

With so many current athletes opening up every aspect of their lives via Twitter, there is something refreshing about the mystery of Rose's life.

Hardly ever caught via camera phone at a bar, not on Twitter, slightly active on Facebook, Rose is again just a basketball player.

Quite often Rose will be criticized for his questionable entry into the University of Memphis.

Whether you are OK with his method or not, Rose was being Rose.

He never wanted to be a student-athlete. It was not his end game. He was forced by a debatable, unfair NBA rule to attend a school.

Of course I am not justifying his course of action—what he did was wrong and technically illegal—but you have to respect Rose’s commitment to remaining himself.

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls and the Eastern Conference greets director Spike Lee (L) during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The path towards the NBA through Memphis was not the most ideal. Rose was avoiding again being something other than himself. His dream and goal was to become an NBA superstar.

In the end, Rose's legacy in Chicago and the NBA will be defined by championships won, but Rose will always be remembered for how he has reached this level of NBA stardom.

He has done it differently from any star before him. Not flashy off the court, not exactly charismatic, Rose is largely a "boring" superstar.

With that said, there is nothing wrong with that. Rose has become a superstar doing it his way, by being Derrick Rose.

Rich Kraetsch is a featured columnist for the Chicago Bulls. This column also appears on NoWackness.com. Follow him on Twitter @richkraetsch.

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