It's been more than a decade since the city of Chicago has seen what everybody nowadays knows as the best player to ever play (Michael Jordan). And with that, in Michael Jordan's absence of course—which was Chicago's demise—came an extended period of losing, and an epidemical proportion of hardship that generalized in an annual NBA Draft.
That only lasted till 2008 though.
But before 2008, and a lock-step ahead of the 1998-99 season, the Chicago Bulls had their stint with marquee names that were suppose-to-be(s). Ben Wallace was one, a signing that looked far more distressed—once stepping onto the United Center's floor—than previously led to believe. The 33-year-old then-Bull had become the latest poster-child that reminded Chicago of how good they initially had it—or as rawly put, another failed soul that didn't live up to "Jordan's shadow."
But he wasn't the only one. Nor should he had been.
Jamal Crawford fitted the criteria, a former Bull who had a career year last season for Atlanta Hawks. So did the Lakers' Ron Artest, the cliff-hanging personality that thanked his "hood" after a 20-point Game Seven audition in the Finals, which also served as a sock-in-the-mouth for his critics.
And considering the unfriendly trend, which appears to uproot again, it's my philosophic belief that Washington Wizards' new acquisition, guard Kirk Hinrich, will deposition himself to put out a ratio that'll add lingering suspense and an awaited cross-examination of Chicago Bulls' hidden detainment.
Whatever dormant problem that causes former players to not perform well in the red-and-black, and not reach MJ's ceiling is beyond me.
But handily enough, the Bulls have one player on record that infers to the thinking of "Chicago is the only place where he knows how to play."
Once the Bulls drafted Derrick Rose, who was not projected to go first overall in the weeks leading up to the 2008 NBA Draft (former Heat and current Timberwolf Michael Beasley [aka Sam Bowie] was), the 19-year-old had no response to the usuriously placarded shadow of Jordan.
Instead, the Chicago-born player just pointed humbly if to say I'll take that—Rookie of the Year in 2008-09—and I'll take that, too—All-Star invitation in 2009-10.
And how's this for wet jeans in the winter—Rose was the first All-Star and career points holder in the playoffs since Michael Jordan left the Bulls.
Though it persists.
Unlike prior coveted free agent Dwyane Wade, who spills saliva after every blasphemous comment intended to the United Center's rims (or baskets), Rose affiliates himself with an exemption.
He has the chance to resolve what Michael, his airness, did 82 times throughout a standard season with the same franchise—Da'Bulls (SNL reference).
The whole mystique behind the concept of deeding players—like Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant—as peerless—or over Michael Jordan—is what I call a "no-good." This is simply because they've not played in the exact weather—figuratively and literally—that's been conditioned on behalf the greatest player of all-time—for now though.
Rose has proved more than Kobe Bryant so far. You can put Dwyane Wade on that list also. Neither has had quintessential highs in Chicago.
It makes me plug the thought, "what if Rose played in Magic Johnson's shadow (lol)?"
"What if he played in Ron Seikaly's shadow?"
The only factor posing as a necessity for Rose to make it an end-all, be-all is to overshoot the luminary.
Win a ring. Drench Chicago reporters with a verbal formula that'll permeate Joakim Noah as Dennis Rodman. Have every player on the 12th month wearing your shoes for exhibitions. Have a season where shooting one attempt per game that adheres to more than 30 percent from 20 feet out. Have a defining moment that taps into the Miami Heat's disdain.
That's all Rose has to do. That and weigh Jordan's conscience. Something he's done partially.
"I'm very happy for him," Michael Jordan told ESPNChicago.com via text. "The Bulls deserve an All-Star. [Rose] is a very special player."