Derrick Rose has had quite an up-and-down season. He came into the year with the honor of being the reigning MVP, and led his team to yet another hot start that gave hope of the Chicago Bulls' first NBA title since the Michael Jordan era. Within weeks of this initial success, Rose succumbed to the first of numerous injuries that have sidelined the 23-year-old for 24 games.
Strangely enough, it's not his injuries that have some concerned with his future—it's his personality.
In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Rose expressed his distaste for fame.
"It gets on my nerves that I just can't go out," he says. "It's just boundaries now. People are like, 'You can't go here, you can't go there, you got to let that person know where you're going.' It's just weird. I'm never alone. Ever."
For a player who will forever live on as a former MVP, it's hard to imagine that this will change. Considering he's just 23 years old and likely to be involved in annual title hunts for the next seven to 10 years, it's hard to imagine it will get any easier, either.
Due to this fact, the question must be asked: Will fame be the downfall of one of the game's most promising young players?
Rose's reflections on an incident in which he avoided the media after a game cause me to believe so.
"It was just too much," he says. "I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't deal with it. There were so many people. I saw them there from the other room. And when I thought about having to go in there, I just couldn't work my way up to it." He pauses and takes a sip of water. His eyes go somewhere beyond my left ear. "There were so many of them. I hope they'll forget about it."
At this point in time, Derrick Rose is too young for criticism of an inability to win a title. He's in his second season as an elite NBA talent, with as many fans as any player in the NBA. The question is, what's going to happen if Rose fails to win a title over the next three seasons? As LeBron James' inability to win big has shown us, the NBA community can grow restless and the media's attacks can grow relentless.
How would Rose handle such treatment? While every great player is beloved in retrospect, you'd be hard pressed to find a single legend that hasn't had their periods of hatred and frustration. If and when Rose approaches that situation, how will the closed-door point guard handle it?
While we all convince ourselves that sports and athletics are simply physical games, the mental aspect is equally as important as your physical abilities.
If Rose continues to be frustrated with the media attention, it could show in his game. Such has been evident in Allen Iverson's attempted comebacks.
Furthermore, Rose's recent declaration that he was "sick and tired" (per ESPN) of the hard fouls he receives when he drives the paint has drawn no sympathy. Many of the older players who respect Rose are not on his side, telling ESPN Radio that the flagrant fouls of today are the regular fouls of before.
Furthermore, former Lakers legend Kurt Rambis, who was historically clotheslined by Kevin McHale, claimed that the lack of leniency on foul calls actually helps Rose. Rather than taking out anyone who enters the lane, big men have to play it clean against Rose due to the recently updated rule book.
With the young face of the NBA suddenly under attack, it will be interesting to see how he responds. He's already received plenty of criticism for numerous premature returns to the lineup after injury.
Hopefully, this doesn't hinder one of the most promising careers in NBA history.