Derrick Rose Proving Skeptics Wrong

Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose
Stephen R Sylvanie USA TODAY Sports

With Derrick Rose ready to steal a starting spot in USA Basketball’s starting five, the knee jokes have proven to be as shaky as his said-to-be failing body. But it was never Rose’s knees that should have been doubted. Victim of two isolated—if although linked by their severity—injuries, it was always his rehab regiment and drive that would be put to the test of overcoming two season-ending knee injuries. So far, both have rocked skeptics in their place.

In a pack dominated by the talents of Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis, and Stephen Curry, Rose has been at the forefront of resounding praise. Though Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has acknowledged they were building around KD, in light of his dropping out of the team, he hasn’t sung anyone’s praises quite like he has with Rose.

It was something he noticed during Rose’s first defensive assignment: “He went right at it. The first defensive exchange in the camp, he was all over the ball handler, moving his feet, attacking him. There was a buzz right away because it was basically his saying, ‘Look, I’m not just back. I’m back at a level that’s elite.’”

Word has been that Rose has remained the most impressive player up to this point. Sure, he’s had more to prove than the Damian Lillards or Kyle Korvers of the world but none have had to climb the perils he has. Not even Paul George’s season-ending injury was enough to shake his resolve. For a player with much criticism to deflect and much on the line, Rose could have justifiable taken a step back, much like Blake Griffin or Kevin Love did, to save himself for season play. But, lest we forget, this is a man without fear.

“I have no fears. I have faith. I know that I’m going to be fine. I know that I busted my ass the entire two summers. You can say two seasons to get back to where I am right now. And just try and keep it moving, stay positive every day, do everything consistent like I’ve been doing.”

Two years of rehab did a number on fans’ remembrance of Rose’s talents. Even his MVP year has picked up metaphorical dirt since going down with injury. But his surprising rise in USA Basketball is reminding even his ardent supporters just how great he can really be. It’s not often that a man two years removed from competitive play can leapfrog the world’s greatest talents in hopes of representing the planet’s best squad.

Along the way, everything from his knees to his resolve were questioned. But a Rose is a rose, by any other name or insult. Along the way, Rose has concentrated on being the Rose many thought he would never be again, never taking the time to realize that he’s the Rose we’re seeing now particularly because of how he’s responded to the very things that were supposed to break him.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles