Should the Bulls retire Derrick Rose’s jersey?



Derrick Rose stares into the crowd.

Josh Purnell, Courier Staff

On Nov. 1, 2019, the Chicago Bulls hosted the Detroit Pistons, playing their second home game of the season. Bulls star player Zach LaVine scored 26 points while pulling down five rebounds. Trailing by one in the closing minute, LaVine put Chicago ahead hitting back-to-back three-pointers and adding four free throws in the final 11.5 seconds. The Bulls went on to beat the Pistons 112-106.

You’d think that was the story for the night and LaVine would be the one getting all the praise. Well no, it did not go that way, unfortunately. Derrick Rose, a former player of the Chicago Bulls, had the spotlight on him Friday night. Rose put on an impressive performance in front of his lovely Chicago fans scoring 23 points and ditching seven assists. In the first quarter when Rose entered the game, he received a loud ovation from the crowd as the Chicago fans were chanting “MVP, MVP, MVP.”

A kid from the south side of Chicago coming out of Memphis University was drafted by the Bulls with the number one overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Rose won Rookie of the Year averaging 16.8 points per game, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds. There have only been two other players to win Rookie of the Year in Bulls history: Michael Jordan and Elton Brand.

The Bulls finished the season seventh in the Eastern Conference. In the playoff, Chicago faced the Boston Celtics and Rose put on a magnificent performance the first game of the series. Rose’s stat line in that game was 36 points, 11 assists and four rebounds. The Bulls beat the Celtics in overtime 105-103. Unfortunately, Chicago lost the series in seven games. Although, the Bulls did not move on to the next round, their front office and their fans knew they had their very own franchise player.

Since his rookie year, he’s been a three time All-Star, 2011 All- NBA First Team and 2011 Most valuable Player. The most prominent season since the 1998 Bulls season was the 2011 season when the Bulls finished the season 62-20. They were No. 1 in their division and first in the Eastern Conference. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau was awarded Head Coach of the Year and Rose was awarded Most Valuable Player.

Anyone can make a case that either Kobe Bryant or LeBron James should’ve won the award that year, but let’s be serious, Rose deserved that award. The Bulls had the best record in the entire league. Everyone knew the offense ran through him and he still could not be stopped. Night after night, Chicago fans got the opportunity to see Rose put on an amazing performance, and the fun part about it was that no one knew what he was going to do every game night. You knew Rose had a trick play up his sleeve that made you wonder how he did that.

Rose was completely unstoppable and hard to contain. His speed, quickness and ability to attack the hole was something to see. Like the great commentator of the Chicago Bulls Stacey King said every night, “Too big, too strong, too fast, too good.” He took pride in playing hard on the defensive side of the ball and that came from head coach at the time Thibodeau. Thibodeau was a hard coach. He was hard on his players because he wants the best out of them. You can’t deny that Thibodeau’s tough coaching got the Bulls to the playoffs.

Chicago flew past the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks meeting the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls lost the series 4-1. Chicago couldn’t pull out a series win against the big three; James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Although the Bulls lost, it was okay because everyone knew they were going to be back.

In December 2011, Rose signed a five-year contract extension with the Bulls for $94.8 million. Rose carried the Bulls to the playoffs, finishing the lockout season with a 50-16 record. In the first game of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose went down with a leg injury. Come to find out after the game, Rose tore his ACL in his left knee. He was out for the remainder of the playoffs and during the 2013 season, Rose was absent for most of the year again. During the 2014 season, on Nov. 22, Rose injured his right knee against the Portland Trail Blazers. It was confirmed that Rose tore his right knee meniscus and required surgery. By then, you could tell people were slowly giving up on Rose.

After the 2016 season, the Bulls moved on from Rose. He has played for the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and now the Detroit Pistons. Since leaving the Bulls, he’s had some good games, but none were like the one in Minnesota. Last year, on Oct. 31 against the Utah Jazz, Rose scored a career high 50 points. It was an emotional game for him. During the post game, he talked about how no one believes in him and everyone doubted him. It was something to see for the NBA fans and most certainly his fans in Chicago.

So, whenever Rose visits Chicago, understand that the people of Chicago will forever welcome him. Chicago fans have seen some of the best moments in his career. He is Chicago’s very own and the city loves him. After the Bulls and Pistons game was over, during postgame, Rose was asked about the Bulls retiring his jersey.

“I’m a product of the city. I’m a son of the city in some way,” Rose said. “Everybody looks at me as their child, or cousin or family member. That’s all I’ve been hearing the last couple of years. It’s not up to me, it’s up to the franchise and up to Jerry and them to decide what they want to do. But who wouldn’t want to be in the rafters? Up there with MJ, Love and all the other guys. I would love it but it’s not my decision.”

Should the Bulls retire Rose’s jersey? No question about it, they should. Those who would not agree would say he did not play with the Bulls long enough, he did not produce enough, he did not win a championship. All those statements are correct but there will never be another player like Rose. The Bulls organization and Bulls fans were fortunate to have him. You can argue that when he was healthy, the Bulls without question were a top five team in the league.

Who knows what the Bulls could’ve been if Rose never got hurt? Who knows what Rose could’ve done more of if he never got hurt? No one will ever know, but what we do know is that Rose did something that no other player after him has done; win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, selected All-Star three consecutive times, go to four consecutive playoffs and lead his team with the best record in the league. To do that in a four year span, I think that is amazing and it’s not fair to say he doesn’t deserve a jersey retirement ceremony because of an injury that he can’t control.

The Bulls have not drafted a potential superstar since 2016, that alone should say why Rose’s jersey should be retired. He is a once in a lifetime type of player.