It's kind of ironic that we're giving Derrick Rose a small token of birthday appreciation by chronicling 25 of his most unforgettable moments.
After all, he technically gave all of the upcoming clips to us for free. But let's not dwell on our cheap habit of re-gifting. Instead, let's dive into a collection of memorable clips that celebrate one of the league's most beloved stars.
We'll see some transcendent emotional highs and a few heartbreaking lows along the way, but don't worry; we'll make sure to toss in a handful of breathtaking dunks to keep things moving.
Rose accomplished a lot before the age of 25. Here's visual proof.
We start out with the subtler side of Rose's basketball genius. Not every memorable moment has to be an above-the-rim finish or a devastating crossover, and this terrific finish is a perfect example of that truism.
On first viewing, this doesn't seem like a particularly impressive clip. But if you watch more closely, it encapsulates so much of what is great about Rose's game.
Taking on multiple defenders, Rose cradles the ball, takes a couple of bumps and tosses up a ridiculously difficult reverse. No guard in the league has his combination of balance and strength, and his ability to improvise in the air is similarly unparalleled.
Don't worry; we'll get to the dunks eventually.
Let's all pretend that Luol Deng didn't travel and just enjoy the game-winning finish by Rose in this clip.
The stage couldn't have been bigger and the lights couldn't have been brighter, but Rose wasn't fazed. He sealed this Christmas Day game with a quirky, off-balance floater that somehow eluded the outstretched arm of Pau Gasol.
Merry Christmas to all. And to the Lakers, goodnight.
If one D-Rose game-winner is good, doesn't that mean two is even better? That's rhetorical; of course two is better!
This time around, the Milwaukee Bucks are the victims. And best of all, Stacey King and his inimitable enthusiasm are on the call.
I'm not even sure what to call this shot by Rose against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Is it a runner? A floater? A fadeaway of some kind?
Maybe I'm a sucker for wrong-footed finishes, but this thing is just ridiculous. All of Rose's momentum is carrying him away from the basket and out of bounds toward the baseline, yet he manages to flip in a one-handed finish with almost no view of the basket.
I guess some guys are good enough to use "Horse" shots in actual games.
I'll concede that this moment isn't exactly a celebration of Rose's basketball skill. But it's going to go down in history as irrefutable proof that all things were possible during Linsanity, and that certainly makes it fit under the "memorable" heading.
Here, Jeremy Lin casually bats Rose's layup attempt off the board, starting a break the other way. In other words, it's basically visual proof that the world stopped making sense for a few weeks during the 2011-12 season.
Where indeed, Stacey King.
It was a real struggle to settle on the optimal time to break out this highlight, arguably D-Rose's single nastiest slam.
But seeing as we just watched him get his shot stuffed by Lin, maybe Rose could use a little pick-me-up.
I'm not sure what we'd have to do to make Goran Dragic feel better, though. Years of counseling, maybe? Yikes.
Maybe it's not all that impressive to watch Rose smash on the heads of guys his own size. The problem is that it's hard to find bigger opponents who are willing to risk the embarrassment of meeting him at the rim.
In this clip, Danilo Gallinari appears to think about challenging Rose for just a split second. Wisely, he waves at the airborne point guard in what might be the best current example of Deion Sanders' famed "business decision" approach to tackling.
Gallo wanted no part of that slam.
We've been featuring dunks and tough finishes pretty heavily so far, but it's important to switch directions in any celebration of Rose's most memorable moments. Based on this clip from way back in 2008, it's pretty clear that Rose is a big fan of changing directions, too.
Know who feels differently about abrupt directional shifts? Andre Miller, who winds up with a legitimate ankle sprain (no seriously, it almost rolls all the way over) and a highlight that he'd probably prefer everyone forgets.
Be sure to ice that, Professor.
It seems like there might be a disproportionate number of big D-Rose moments against the Knicks. Maybe that's just a testament to his ability to elevate his game when more eyes are focused on him.
Speaking of elevating, Rose soars down the lane for a one-handed spike here.
Note how Baron Davis pretends to take a swipe at the ball and Tyson Chandler stops short of actually contesting the play. Sorry guys, you're still close enough to wind up on the poster.
Rose is just picking on the old guy now. A couple of years after the ankle-breaking crossover, he gets Miller again, this time with a wicked spin move. Just for good measure, Rose also finishes the play at the rim.
Miller wasn't happy about the sequence, and the Portland Trail Blazers' commentators weren't pleased either. Come on guys, take off the homer hats and enjoy a sweet play. It won't kill you.
A few aspects of this play warrant mentioning.
First, it's ridiculous that a point guard can so casually elevate for a thunderous, two-handed power slam. Second, there's no way anyone should be able to completely elude three defenders in the span of about 20 feet.
Finally, it's patently unfair that the same guy did both of those things in one play.
Fun side note: The defender in the corner who made absolutely no move to step in and help on the drive was none other than Andre Miller.
Clearly, he learned his lesson.
I really hate to do this. Nothing kills the vibe of a smoothly running slideshow like a devastating injury.
But let's be honest: This might be the most memorable moment of Rose's career to this point. Everyone remembers where they were when Rose went down in a heap.
In the interest of completeness, this has to be here.
It wouldn't feel right to go right back into high-flying dunks or paralyzing crossovers after that last clip.
So let's all remember the first step on Rose's road back, which also doubles as a nice piece of marketing for his shoe company.
Be cynical about the corporate aspects of the campaign if you want, but you can't watch Rose sitting on the training table when he says, "I wanna be great. I'm gonna be great" without getting chills.
Who could forget the moment when Rose broke down in tears at the release for his signature shoe?
Overwhelmed by the love for his city and his fans, D-Rose couldn't hold back the tears. How can you not root for this guy?
In a bittersweet moment, Rose limped out onto the court to deliver the game ball before his Bulls took the floor for Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
You could tell by the looks on his teammates' faces that Rose's inspiring gesture and obvious toughness made an impact. At the same time, though, it had to hurt for everyone in the arena to know that this would be the last time they'd see him on a basketball court for a very long time.
Hey, you know what might help lighten the mood after that quartet of heavy memories?
That's right; another clip of Rose picking on Andre Miller. At this point, it's pretty clear that Rose's career has been fueled by an unquenchable desire to put Miller on the wrong end of spectacular highlights.
Miller must have cheated on his taxes in a past life to deserve this.
Good news, you guys: This particular block from Rose features a victim not named Andre Miller.
But I think we can all agree that it's nice to have some evidence that Rose occasionally picks on other point guards.
You heard Commissioner Stern: Rose became the youngest player in NBA history to collect an MVP award when he snatched the trophy following the 2010-11 season.
The honor was well-deserved, as Rose averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game in a year that saw the Bulls march to the league's best record.
Fittingly, he dedicated the honor to his city. Who would have expected anything different?
Uncontested dunks don't typically qualify as "memorable moments," but when you get one as good as this double-clutch reverse, an exception is in order.
Rose gets the steal and takes it all the way for a highlight finish in front of the assembled masses at Madison Square Garden.
Even Spike Lee had to like that one.
It took a while, but we've finally got our first alley-oop jam on the list.
Thanks to a slightly tardy lob from Ronnie Brewer, Rose has to hang in the air for an extra split-second before spiking the ball home.
I think my favorite part of this clip—and any Bulls highlight, really—is that no matter how apoplectic Stacey King gets, he always remembers to address Neil Funk by his full name. That's just good manners.
We're coming down the stretch on fire right now. Here's Rose absolutely shedding Tyreke Evans, who would have been much better off just staying out of the play.
This isn't quite an ankle-breaker, but that's only because Evans somehow manages to look so bad on Rose's crossover that he winds up facing the wrong direction.
This one's just mean.
Let's see here; in this highlight, we've got Rose crossing over Rajon Rondo at the top of the arc, driving to his right and finishing with a slick up-and-under move between two defenders.
I'm prepared to call that a memorable moment.
Any votes to the contrary? Didn't think so.
Here's a little-known fact: After getting his shot batted away by an absurdly bouncy Rose, James Johnson was never heard from again.
OK, that's not true; he played for the Sacramento Kings last season. But it'd be understandable if he had gone into hiding after such a devastating rejection, right?
Just go back and watch that clip again. Rose went up and got that thing at the top of the square. If he comes back at his professed goal of 110 percent this year, does that mean he'll be rejecting shots that are above the backboard?
I guess we'll see.
It's an adage as old as time: Big-time players make big-time plays. I believe it was Socrates who said that.
Or, maybe it was Stacey King. I get those two confused sometimes.
This play is a perfect representation of Rose's incredible hustle. He looks for a shot, can't find one, gives the ball up, gets it back, darts around a screen and finally gets a sliver of daylight.
In just a few weeks, Rose will return to the court in a regular-season game. When he does, he'll create a memorable moment that would easily have made this list. In a way, Rose will be starting over when he suits up against the Heat Oct. 29.
So, it seems appropriate to close with the very first time Rose ever took the floor with the Bulls. It was a bumpy debut, fraught with plenty of mistakes but also loaded with promise.
Happy birthday, D-Rose. Here's to plenty more memories.