Did south-side Chicago native Derrick Rose earn the MVP award, or was it handed to him because of the Bulls record and his status with Team U.S.A.? The answer could surprise you.
Let’s chop it up, shall we? I’ll tell you what I believe, and you tell me what you think of my take.
Rose took his time during his acceptance speech on Tuesday, and he was lauded for his heartwarming praise of his mother—well deserved praise, I'd say. For ballers like him to be tearing up in realizing a dream is praiseworthy.
Speaking of ballers...Born on February 17, 1963, Michael “Air” Jordan is the only other Chicago Bulls player to win the MVP. Jordan won it at the age of 25, four years after entering the NBA draft as a junior at the University of North Carolina.
Drafted No. 3 in 1984, Jordan definitely earned his. As a matter of fact, he won five regular season MVPs—more than Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets) and Sam Bowie (Portland Trail Blazers)—the two players picked ahead of him—combined.
After averaging 28 points per game as a rookie in the 1984-85 season, Jordan continued to get better—along with the Bulls. In the 1986-87 season, he averaged 37 points per game and became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to score over 3,000 in a season.
Jordan's first NBA MVP award came in the 1987-88 season—his fourth year in the league. He won the scoring title and was named Defensive Player of the Year that season.
That year, Jordan dropped 35 points, six rebounds and six assists per game on the NBA—shooting 53 percent from the field. He made Bulls red fashionable along with baggy shorts.
Chicago usually made the playoffs, but were beaten by the Celtics twice and lost to the Pistons three more times before they won the NBA Finals in 1991—when Jordan won his second NBA MVP honor.
In his third year, after being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA—courtesy of the Bulls—Rose became the youngest player ever to win the award. He broke Wes Unseld’s youngest NBA MVP record.
Unseld won it in 1968-9, and he was also named the NBA Rookie of the Year in the same season. If Wes would’ve been at the ceremony last Wednesday in Chicago, it would have been a great moment.
If Michael Jordan had been there to see it, and taken part in the ceremony, it would have been even better. Jordan is also a former NBA Rookie of the Year. The previously woeful Bulls made the playoffs with a fresh 38-44 record in his first year.
Rose, now the NBA's MVP, left the University of Memphis after his freshman year. This season, Rose was the leading MVP candidate for most of the year. In the last two years, the Bulls won 41 games each. In 2010-11, he almost single-handedly led the Bulls to their best regular season record (62-20) since the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen era.
After the Bulls ended up with the No. 1 seed in the NBA this year, then it was a wrap for me—Rose was hands down the winner. In the Eastern Conference where LeBron James and Dwyane Wade perhaps split their votes, Rose could have been a unanimous choice.
I’ve been high on Rose since his days at Chicago Simeon Career Academy, where he carried the program to back-to-back state titles before joining John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers for one season. Starring as the lead guard, Rose led them to the NCAA Finals against Kansas.
I’ve yet to see, or recall seeing a point guard with such quickness and explosiveness. Being from the city of Chicago gives him an edge, I guess. Growing up in St. Louis, myself, we got the Illinois State Basketball Championships on local television.
Watching him now on the tube, I believe Rose can improve on his defense to the point of being the Defensive Player of the Year and erasing all doubt that he is the best point guard ever from the Chicago area.
Guard your grill, but weigh in and tell me what you think.