What Derrick Rose's Return Means for the NBA

Haddon AndersonAnalyst IMarch 27, 2013

Mar 21, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; (Multiple Exposure) Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (1) before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

When Derrick Rose sets foot on the hardwood again, it should not only stimulate the hearts of Chicago Bulls fans, it should also foster excitement across the whole NBA spectrum.

The timetable for his return is still unknown, as Rose recently cited, "Nobody knows but God."

However, some recent footage of him playing one-on-one with teammates gives promise that he's nearing a return date. He certainly appears to be rounding into form.

One thing we do know is that his long-awaited return will mean a great deal for the NBA, for numerous reasons. These reasons are worth dwelling upon as we eagerly anticipate D-Rose back in action.


A Humble Superstar = Increased League Appeal

Rose's rise to superstardom occurred on the fast track. He was Rookie of the Year in 2008-09 and Most Valuable Player in just his third season (2010-11).

He also transformed the Bulls into a championship-caliber contender, as they led the league in wins during 2010-11 as well as 2011-12.

What's more, Rose has been a marquee figure for Adidas, netting a ridiculously lucrative new deal with them in 2012.  

His ascent to athletic glory has been rich with success and drama, surely giving him every reason to swell with pride. But, along the way, there have been no hints at seeping arrogance from Rose. He is the rare humble superstar who keeps a healthy perspective on himself amidst the fame and fortune.

This makes him a treasure in not just the NBA landscape, but across the sporting world in general. Professional sports can never have too many humble icons, because seldom does it seem like one is truly legitimate in their modest expressions. Rose has uniquely appeared legitimate, igniting a breath of fresh air for those easily perturbed by egoism in the sports world.

For this reason alone, Rose's return is a major means for excitement. It's meaningful to the NBA because he's such a marketable, likable individual, whose skilled play coupled with his meek posture are simply magnetic.

NBA appeal is sure to skyrocket once this endearing 24-year-old is back in uniform. 


Competitive Balance = More Playoff Intrigue

His return is also imperative because of the competitive balance it restores to the Eastern Conference. His presence carries weighty implications as the playoffs near.

Aside from the star-studded Miami Heat, the Eastern Conference is relatively weak. The Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are all quality ballclubs, but they're not championship-caliber. The Bulls, minus Rose, are certainly not championship-caliber.

But, if the 2011 MVP returns to Chicago's lineup and is his usual self, the playoffs will suddenly have a different feel. In the past two seasons, the Bulls have proven what they can do when healthy. While it's far-fetched to conclude that they'll oust Miami, they could at least give the Heat a run for their money.

One thing is for sure: an active D-Rose will heighten playoff intrigue. Quite frankly, the Eastern Conference is in need of another storyline like this. Without Rose, the focus out East will solely be on the Heat steamrolling each opponent en route to the Finals.

Rose's reappearance thus not only gives the Heat a potential challenger, it also creates needed buzz for April, May and maybe even June.


A Successful Return = A Story of Inspiration

There are very few who genuinely dislike D-Rose. Even many fans of the Bulls' archrivals find ways to respect him. He's that winsome. Disliking Rose is like disliking David Robinson. You just can't not like him.

Interestingly, his return enables the opportunity to go beyond likability. If he can successfully return to his old self—perhaps even becoming better than his old self—then his story is one of inspiration.

He will have suffered a severe injury and found a way to overcome it, which amplifies the character and drive within him. He will go from being an appealing, humble superstar to an inspiring, electrifying motivator. 

You better believe the NBA will gobble this up.

They'll showcase his every move, marketing his face and the well-rounded imprint his return leaves. He is already a beloved icon in the city of Chicago, but adoration for him will saturate throughout the whole league. Believe it or not, his appeal will escalate even further.

Rose's presence is undoubtedly meaningful to the NBA. His return sparks numerous reasons for elation, which should enthrall every NBA player, coach and fan.

The Return can't come soon enough. When it does, the NBA will regain one of its prized jewels.