Those are the sentiments of several basketball fans.
The long-awaited first NBA game for the hometown hero is on the minds of many. Captivated by Rose’s on-court play, fans have held out hope that they will witness his antics during the current season.
The further the year goes along, we ponder one of two realities. Derrick Rose’s return is either imminent, or he will continue to sit out. The latter means we will have to wait until next season as we spend the summer saying “what if?”
Instead of considering the possibilities, we should look into some of his greatest highlights. If we cannot live in the moment, we can at least revel in the past. That is all we have at this time.
Although we recognize Derrick Rose for his unrivaled athleticism, he is not as a highlight-reel dunker. He rarely dunks during a game but when he does, he turns heads. Getting to the basket was never an issue for the former Memphis Tiger.
One stutter step and he would rush by a defender. The results have varied from fadeaway jump shots to nifty layups. On Jan. 22, 2010, Rose made a statement by dunking in the face of Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic.
The vicious slam was a tone-setter for the Bulls as they went on to a 115-104 win.
It was the first victory of a seven-game west coast road trip. The Bulls had lost two games prior.
The passing lanes are not safe when Derrick Rose is playing defense.
In this highlight, Marco Belinelli's (then with the New Orleans Hornets) pass is read perfectly by Rose, who deflects the ball soon after. By denying Trevor Ariza the ball, Rose is able to garner his first of three steals.
He is not done after he takes the ball away.
With the Hornets defense on their heels, Rose finds Joakim Noah cutting to the basket. The Bulls’ center is rewarded for his hustle with a perfect bounce pass that is turned into a slam.
The Bulls' take a 7-0 lead in the early stages of the first quarter as a result.
If you have seen the recent video of Rose and his two-handed dunk during warm ups before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, consider yourself teased.
Fans rejoiced watching it. The conversation was no longer if he will return this season, but when will he do so. We were hypnotized by how easy it was for him to make his leap. Definitely, it was a sign of great things ahead.
Over a month later, the wait has carried on.
Perhaps many of us failed to see that Rose was leaping primarily off his right leg. With the left ACL being the surgically repaired one, he tried his best not to apply any pressure on it.
Nevertheless, we did not believe we would see him attempt a dunk during warm ups, thus making the video a huge hit.
Much of Rose’s game is predicated on his uncanny ability to weave back and forth on the court with the ball in his hands. This is evident during the Skills Competition of the 2009 All-Star weekend festivities.
Then a rookie participant, Rose calmly went through the obstacle course without many problems. All of the nerves were for one specific portion.
The bounce pass, along with the perimeter shot, are the most difficult tricks to complete. After the contest, Rose spoke (via NBA.com) to TNT’s Cheryl Miller about his concerns.
The bounce pass. I knew when I got those two in, the crowd got to me and I came up a little short on my jump shots. I was scared a little bit.
But the bounce pass was the hardest thing.
Rose handled the bounce with ease, becoming the first-ever rookie to win the NBA Skills Competition.
Defender beware, Derrick Rose is breaking ankles!
Just ask Andre Miller how it feels to be one of Rose’s many victims to his potent crossover.
The play came in Rose’s rookie season. Miller (then with the Philadelphia 76ers) drew the assignment of deterring the 19-year-old phenom.
Miller appeared ready, but after Rose began his dribble, Miller could not keep up. He lost his footing as Rose was making a move to the rim. Subsequently, Miller fell.
In his defense, Miller got his revenge by embarrassing Rose on two separate plays.
Rose went on to finish the game with 18 points. He also handed out 10 assists, marking the first time in his career he had done so.
As Chicago Bulls’ announcer Stacey King always says, “Big-time players make big-time plays.” In “Game 6” of an epic first-round series with the Boston Celtics, that is exactly what happened
As you will recall, “Game 6” was the triple-overtime game that was back and forth.
The Bulls were ahead by one with 14 seconds remaining. Rose had enough after playing an excruciating 59 minutes. He did not want to play a minute longer.
Rajon Rondo dribbled the ball past the halfcourt line to meet an awaiting Rose.
Rose never allowed Rondo to get past him. After a failed crossover attempt, Rondo pump fakes and shoots a fadeaway jumper, only to have his shot blocked by Rose.
The block was one of many defining moments in the series.
Joakim Noah gushed (via ESPN.com) about the meeting of two teams who refused to lose.
This series is a lot of fun for the fans, the people of Chicago, the people of Boston. It's a lot of fun for us, too, playing in environments like this on the big stage. It's special to be part of this, and I know that it's a series people will be talking about for a long time.
The series and the blocked shot both developed long-lasting rivalries. The Bulls versus Celtics battles were reborn, while Derrick Rose against Rajon Rondo was created.
Derrick Rose, the dunker?
Against the Detroit Pistons he is.
If you remember his sick one-handed jam from an alley-oop pass by Ronnie Brewer, you would say that Rose should have been in the dunk contest. He gets so much elevation on the play that his head is almost above the rim.
The NBA is full of great leapers, but when you consider that Rose is only 6’3”, it makes this dunk more remarkable.
This play could not have been possible if it were not for Luol Deng forcing a turnover on the opposite end. He tipped an errant pass to Rose, who starts a fast break with Brewer.
Brewer receives a pass from Rose and then returns the favor with the assist on the alley-oop.
Derrick Rose has a dangerous crossover.
Apparently, on Nov. 27, 2010, Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans did not get the memo. The former University of Memphis star tried his best to stop his fellow alum, to no avail. Rose proved to be too fast for him.
While Evans was getting into a defensive stance, Rose easily drove past him for a layup.
The problem for Evans was that he was late arriving to guard Rose. There also were no help defenders in sight. Once Rose was able to get to the paint, the resistance was minimal at best.
Rose finished the game with 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Most importantly, the Bulls won the game, 96-85.
The stage was set.
Can the Bulls defeat the heavily favored Lakers?
With Derrick Rose in the lineup, the answer is yes.
The former MVP took matters in his own hands late in the game.
First, he disrupted a pass that was intended for Kobe. The ball went to Luol Deng and he quickly gave it to Rose. Rose, with Derek Fisher guarding him, was able to find a little room to shoot. He releases a high-arcing shot that soars over Pau Gasol’s outstretched arm and in the basket to give the Bulls an 88-87 lead.
Eventually the Bulls would seize the win after Deng and Rose joined forces to block Kobe’s game-winning attempt in the final 4.6 seconds.
Off the dribble, Derrick Rose can lull a defender to sleep. Look no further than his buzzer-beating shot against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 7, 2012.
The Bucks' Brandon Jennings was guarding Rose at the time of the basket. Rose started his dribble as the clock began to wind down, with 14 seconds left. With Jennings staying stride for stride, Rose knew he had to do something different.
As the seconds continued to wane, Rose dribbled just inside the three-point arc. Once gaining some space, he successfully completed a step-back jump shot as the ball swished through the net with time expiring.
Rose spoke to reporters (via ESPN.com) about the incredible shot shortly after the game.
It was like a kid, all the things that you dream about. It felt good. You're on the road, going against a team that's giving you their all and you hit a nice shot like that.
Rose has made several game-winning shots before against a Central Division rival, but this may stands out as his best.
Among the highlights in Rose’s career, receiving the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award at the age of 20 stands out as the greatest.
It is not one play that makes a player the MVP—it takes a compilation of them.
Once you have taken a look into his four NBA seasons, you see two constants. The first are his late-game heroics.
How can anyone forget his crossovers against opponents, the slam dunks that have ignited crowds in several arenas and his game-winning shots? We have witnessed the significant growth in his defense over the years.
Rose earned our praise.
Unfortunately, injuries have become the second constant during his tenure.
I will not begin to suggest that Rose is injury-prone. Doing so is an injustice to him. Before this season, Rose missed 32 games due to injuries, with 27 of those contests coming during a truncated year.
Rose must prove to himself that he can stay healthy. He does not owe us anything regarding his well being.
The plan going forward must be for Rose to return to playing basketball while maintaining his health. Staying healthy will be difficult as the 82-game schedule is a grind. This has to weigh heavily on Rose’s mind as he finds himself facing the tough decision of playing now or later.
One thing is for certain, it does not matter if he resumes his career before the season is done or at the start of training camp in September. We all want to see him raise the MVP trophy once more while leading the Bulls to an NBA championship.
If both of those accomplishments happen, they will become the second and third-greatest highlights of a storied career. It will also mean that the Derrick Rose we all know and love is back on the top where he belongs.