Derrick Rose and LeBron James were both overall number one NBA draft picks.
Ferrari or Lamborghini? Andrew Luck or RGIII? Nike LeBron 9 or AdiZero Rose 2.5?
Different, yet so similar. Equally attractive, nonetheless.
Sometimes choices can be painfully difficult, even when you can't go wrong with either selection.
Hypothetically, let's reset the shot clock. You now have 24 seconds to make the shot, or in this case, a critical decision.
Whom would you select?
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected James as the overall number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Would you select LeBron James over Derrick Rose?
Are you so enamored with his NFL-type physique that you'd make this 6'8" 250-pound chiseled man your man?
Would you account for his two NBA MVP awards, seven All-Star appearances and five NBA first team selections to clothe him with your team's jersey featuring the No. 1 on the front?
Would you swoon over his impressive stats this season (27.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 6.6 APG) along with a 31.62 effectiveness rating?
And, despite his punishing style, would you count upon his durability (627 games played, while missing only 18) as you invest millions in your new man?
The Chicago Bulls chose Derrick Rose as the number one overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
...Would you pick the younger Derrick Rose over LeBron James?
Certainly, this would be like preferring a younger Lady Gaga over a more mature Madonna, but both ladies are superstars in their own right who can fill your arena just as quickly as when Bulls vs. Heat tickets go on sale.
Would you forego the fashionable choice of arguably the most physically gifted player on the planet for a younger buck—I mean Bull—who stands five inches shorter and weighs 60 pounds less?
Are you so amazed by this 23-year-old reigning NBA MVP, the youngest in history I might add, that you'll anoint him with your personally sanctioned scepter and robe to lead your franchise into the next decade?
Have you been mesmerized by Rose's stats so far this year (22.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 8.1 APG) that you've already got your checkbook and pen out, poised to award him with whatever it took to sign him?
LeBron James shown with his two Miami Heat star teammates and celebrated 2010 free agent signings Dwyane wade and Chris Bosh.
...How will you surround your newly signed young stud?
Are you prepared to fork over a state-sized pension fund to procure the right players to compliment your prized pick?
Have you closely scrutinized the other free-agent stars you sign to ensure they not only support, but all strengthen your No. 1 pick in all facets of his game?
Are you prepared to squelch the anticipated celebrity status of your trio of hardwood heroes when it begins to veer out of control?
Will you keep your coach, regardless of his age or experience, and trust him to marshal all the necessary resources to corral the collective egos and weighty talents for a championship ring?
Chicago's Derrick Rose with less celebrated Bulls' teammates.
...Will you eschew the elixir of signing higher priced, higher profile players from other markets and surround your star with lesser known luminaries, many of whom who have been homegrown?
Will you instill a Midwestern laborer's basketball mentality with hard-nosed defensive-minded coach with an unimpeachable work ethic, who runs a more methodical half-court offense?
Have you the confidence to give the keys to your city's basketball future to a stoic kid barely out of his freshman year of college with a disdain for the public spotlight?
Are you certain a 6'3'' point guard is your better choice in a league dominated by bruising athletes standing several inches taller?
Because you'll need to decide before draft day exactly how you'll choose between two apparently perfect choices for your franchise.
LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant defending the Miami Heat's LeBron James.
...How will you handle the comparisons of your No. 1 choice?
Will you expect him to immediately mirror every move of other championship caliber all-stars in the league?
Will you defend him if he doesn't win a championship as soon as fans believe he should win a championship?
Do you expect him to be a closer of games and an unparalleled fourth-quarter finisher like Kobe Bryant?
Or, do you believe his skills are best served setting up others at critical times of the game or deferring to teammates who have superior matchups or the hotter hand?
Derrick Rose driving by the Lakers' Derek Fisher.
On the other hand, would you prefer to take a different approach with your top draft pick?
Would you shield him as best as possible from the intense public scrutiny and work with him on emulating other champions in order to mold his game around their play, as well as their locker room clout and off-court leadership?
Will you dissuade your guy from following in the mercurial Rajon Rondo's footsteps and rather encourage him—better yet, challenge him—to best Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher's career as a five-time NBA Champion and current president of the NBA Player's Association?
Will you ask him to always be the man or allow him to make his own decisions and lead by example, while facilitating for others on the court as the unquestioned captain of the team?
As his Bulls jersey number reads, Derrick Rose would be my number one pick.
OK, drum roll please.
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls would me my personal choice as this fantasy NBA draft's No. 1 overall pick.
No disrespect to LeBron James, who has proven over the past eight years that he is one of the most incredible players to have ever laced 'em up in the NBA.
So, selecting Rose would be my choice with absolutely no hesitation.
In only three years, Rose has proven his worth as an impact player. Rose is the fifth player in NBA history, along with Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Michael Jordan and LeBron James to score 2,000 points, grab 600 rebounds and record 300 assists.
The former Memphis Tiger has also demonstrated the sterling leadership qualities that I would desire in my point guard and star player. Last year, Rose finished as his team's leading scorer 54 times while directing the Bulls to their best finish since the Jordan years.
Rose makes his teammates better. They trust him, they like him and they believe in him. When watching a Bulls game, Rose is always involved, on every possession. He never takes a play off, continually communicates with his teammates and desires, rather, demands the ball during clutch situations.
With no pre-game rituals or scripted hand slap celebrations during the game, Derrick doesn't remind me of the molly coddled products of teen AAU travel clubs where stars always get their way and rely heavily on natural born ability instead of acquiring knowledge of the game through hard work, practice and study.
Rose personifies the consummate professional that I'd expect from an overall NBA No. 1 draft choice.
Most importantly, Rose will "man up" when necessary as evidenced by the mature manner in which he addressed the media following Chicago's earlier than expected exit from last year's NBA Playoffs.
Rose made no excuse, did not attack the press when questioned and pinned the loss, unnecessarily, on himself and pledged to do better, and play better during his next playoff appearance.
Now that's the kind of person I want as my top NBA draft choice.
He reminds me of another point guard, built more like LeBron than Rose, but a rather exemplary NBA Hall of Famer, after whom Derrick may wish to model his career.
And that stellar point guard is none other than.....
Five time NBA Champion Earvin Magic Johnson.
.....Earvin Magic Johnson.
Rose's poise, leadership ability and breathtaking stats as a point guard at such an early age remind me of this five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA MVP and fellow NBA No. 1 draft pick.
Though Derrick, and LeBron for that matter, haven't yet begun assembling the championship legacy that Magic attained, may they both look to the former Laker as a preeminent basketball player, leader and person to pattern their careers after.
Magic may have been built more like LeBron, but he played more like Rose.
With the clock winding down and the game on the line in Game 7 of an NBA Championship, I'd want the ball in Derrick Rose's hand as former Laker coach Pat Riley preferred it in Magic's.
Rose, like Johnson, would demand the ball, protect it and know what to do with it.
And that's why I'd chose derrick Rose over LeBron James in my hypothetical NBA draft.
Straight talk. No static.
MIKE - aka Mike Raffone - thee ultimate talking head on sports!