Derrick Rose is sidelined until he recovers from his torn ACL injury, but knowing what we know of him and his competitive nature, he's stewing on the chance to come back and help he Bulls to a title win.
You can't help but believe that as he works out and rehabs, he's pushing himself with his heart full of incentives and that the ultimate goal of winning a title burns within for various reasons.
Based on what we know of Rose, there are many things both on and off the court which are motivating him right now. After all, this is a man who needs little excuse to find a motivation to win. He once held onto two missed free throws for a year before exacting his revenge on the Clippers.
He only dominated Chris Paul in one of the finest games of his career, and poor Paul wasn't even a Clipper then.
No, he'll find any little reason to motivate him, but that doesn't mean he finds only little reasons. There are some big ones too.
On November 6, Derrick Rose posted pictures of his newborn son P.J. to his Twitter account. The picture above is from that tweet.
My lil man PJ twitter.com/drose/status/2…— Derrick Rose (@drose) November 6, 2012
Need we say it? Ridiculously cute hardly suffices.
When asked how his son's life would be different, according to ESPN Chicago, Rose said,
He won't have to worry about finding something to eat. I try to break everything as plain as possible. He won't have to find anything to eat, and that's something I had to do when I was younger. I think that's a great start.
That's a bit of an understatement. Even if he never plays another game, between his $185 million in guaranteed money from adidas and his $95 million guaranteed contract with the Bulls, that's $280 million that he'll make if he never plays again.
Needless to say, P.J. isn't going to go hungry, and money isn't the driving factor any longer. That's why you won't see money listed in this list. He's set for life.
But don't think for a minute that Derrick doesn't try to teach little P.J. something about being a man who sets goals and achieves them.
One driving factor for Rose will be to set an example for his son.
One of Derrick Rose's closest friends away from the Chicago Bulls is the player he is most frequently compared to, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
They are probably the two fastest players in the NBA. If you filmed the two of them playing one-on-one and played it back it slow motion, it would look like they were playing at regular speed.
They play with a ton of confidence and can beat you multiple ways, through passing, scoring or defense.
The world would love to see them both enter the dunk contest. They have combined 78 inch vertical, and both ascend in their jumps at remarkable speed. The word explosive seems too overused to describe them. These boys bounce.
Though their games are similar, their off-court personalities are different as night and day. Westbrook is as cocky as Rose is humble.
Still, they are close friends who share the same agent, the same trainer and work out together in the offseason.
Considering how both competitive both are, you better believe there's been some trash talk going on in those practices.
He also has a friendship with the Thunder's Kevin Durant that started when they were teammates on team USA.
Rose and Durant are the first two players who signed the so-called Rose Exception in the new CBA, which allows for players who have been an MVP or made multiple All-Star games in their first two seasons to receive more maximum money.
Rose is they youngest MVP in league history, and Durant is the youngest player to win multiple scoring titles.
And they're almost exactly the same age. Durant was born September 29, 1988, just five days before Derrick Rose on October 4, 1988. Westbrook is all of a month younger than the other two, born November 12 of the same year.
If he got to pick the team the Bulls beat in the Finals, it stands to reason that he would love nothing more than to beat the Thunder. If he did, it would give him the edge as the greatest player of his generation (if you consider those over 25 are in a different generation).
Derrick Rose knows he has his "haters" out there. He has a message for them which he told to Aggery Sam in an exclusive interview with CSN Chicago,
I know it’s going to push me even harder. It seemed like I missed all last year — played games here and there, but I still missed a lot of games — and this year, I know a whole bunch of haters out there are saying so many things. I think that’s what’s going to drive me, thinking about what people are saying — ‘Is he going to be back, is he going to have his speed,’ or this and that — I know that’s going to push me as a player. I’m listening and watch everything, and if I don’t hear it, best believe one of my friends hears it and they’re telling me. That’s why I love them to death because they know that motivates me and makes me want to do better as a player.
I guess we don't really need to speculate on this one much. Be careful if you're hating on him. He knows what you're saying.
As they say, haters gonna hate. Then they gonna pay.
Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose have a very close relationship. When the Collective Bargaining Agreement was finally reached last year, they were the first two to make it to the Berto Center. Much to Rose's chagrin, they weren't yet able to talk.
Instead, he had to express through a reporter how much he missed his head coach. Eventually, as soon as he was allowed, he went to greet Thibodeau. He made a point of it.
He likes that Thibodeau pushes him, perhaps because as Thibodeau pushes Rose, it shows he believes in Rose. Perhaps it's because Rose loves to win, and he knows when he buys in, the Bulls win.
One thing is certain. If, and when, he does win a trophy, Thibodeau will be a big part of the reason, and a big part of the motivation too.
There is something abut this group that's special, especially between its three core players, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Rose. There might be more talented trios in the NBA, but it's doubtful that many are closer, if any at all.
Deng is like the oldest brother, helping his younger siblings navigate the topography of the NBA. Noah is the loud and brash middle child, speaking his mind and emboldening his siblings. Rose is the youngest of the group and the little brother.
It's an easy role for him to slide into, as it's similar to his actual brothers who helped him and protected him growing up.
You can see the closeness on the court. They thrive off one another. They've waged postseason battles together, such as the Boston series in Rose's rookie year, or the Eastern Conference Finals run two years ago.
These players have a palpable affection for one another, and it's easy to believe that Rose wants to win one for his brothers in arms.
If you didn't tear up a little bit when Rose thanked his mother during his MVP speech, I have just one question for you: How cold is your heart?
Rose is a mama's boy and proud of it. He truly loves his mother and what she sacrificed for him to be where he is. She, along with his brothers, protected him as he grew up in what might be the worst neighborhood in the country, both in terms of crime and poverty.
Through it all, she helped him to navigate through not only the environmental things, she also protected him from the countless recruiters that kept coming his way. Everyone knew you had to go through his mom.
He grew up basically wanting for everything but needing nothing because his mother sacrificed everything for him. Now, neither he nor his mother wants for anything. He would love to win a title for her.
It is special to see a man who can love his mother without restraint. If he wins the NBA Finals MVP at some point, he might give her that too.
When Derrick Rose broke down at the adidas press conference to announce the release of his new shoes, it was completely off-script. The script itself couldn't have been written any better.
Rose is different than previous stars. Unlike Kevin Durant, who has fully embraced the city which drafted him, he was born and raised there. Unlike LeBron James, who was born and raised near the city which drafted him, but never fully embraced it as his own, Rose has fully embraced Chicago.
Rose is unique in the sense that he had the good fortune to be drafted by his hometown and the good sense to embrace that.
This is a player who apologized to the city once for not winning them Big Macs. He truly loves the city of Chicago.
Have you ever seen another player weep in gratitude for his fans?
He not only embraces the city, he feels a sense of responsibility to it. He wants to win a title for Chicago and bring it back home. Perhaps more than anything, it's this which is driving him.