Rose is being just like Mike with free throws


Jan 30

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Derrick Rose had a warning for the Washington Wizards Monday after the Bulls’ heartbreaking Sunday loss to the Miami Heat and Rose’s late missed free throws.

“It just makes me hungrier,” Rose said. “Where tonight I’m going to try to go crazy.”

Rose said he got encouragement from friends as the team left for Washington.

“I know if I get in that position again, which I am, that it will be a different outcome,” said Rose, who added his injured, sprained turf toe is fine now. “It’s something I live for. (When) I think of my (potential) legacy, I want people to think of me as being a clutch player, someone that always comes through on the court. Yesterday, it hurt a little bit, but I know in the long run it will make me stronger as a player. I know if I ever get in that position again, it will be totally different.”

This media era is particularly notorious for its short memory, so I gave some thought to when Michael Jordan used to blow games like that. And it being Michael, he did it in even a bigger way. Though that was always Michael’s point and why he became the greatest player ever. There were guys who could run faster, shoot better, jump higher. But there aren’t many who want to put themselves in that position to win or lose the game.

Much always has been talked about regarding Jordan’s legendary competitiveness leading to his transcendent excellence. Though what gets overlooked is the way great players like Jordan took on the responsibility for the game, for their team, for their community.

And when you do, there will be failures.

After all, that’s what life is about. In many respects, being a great role model is failing and showing how you endure and come back from that. Everyone fails; everyone has disappointments. Few do so as publicly as professional athletes, especially the elite ones like Jordan and Rose.

So when they fail it seems all the more spectacular, just as is their successes.

Most people cannot accept the failures and rejections and prefer not to try. The great ones, no matter the field, take the chance.

Jordan had stupendous failures as well. He missed free throws down the stretch as well and in much bigger settings than Rose Sunday.

Go back to the 1989 playoffs when the Bulls were big underdogs to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls went up 2-1 in the best of five series with Game 4 in Chicago. It came down to the last minute and all Jordan needed to do was make a free throw and the Bulls clinch the series and go on to the next round. Miss and they go back to Cleveland for the final game.

Jordan missed two free throws in the last 49 seconds, and the Cavs then went on to win in overtime when Brad Daugherty made his free throws, Jordan blowing the closeout game.

It was a colossal let down, but Jordan wouldn’t see it as failure. As it happens, he had a chance for what became the ultimate redemption the next game when he hit the famous “Shot” to beat the Cavs in that fifth game.

Rarely does one get a chance for such a turnaround, which perhaps helped make the Jordan legend. The point was Jordan always put himself in the line of fire for his team and his city, and so he wouldn’t make them all. Like I quoted in my most post game analysis from Sunday’s game Jordan’s famous lines about how much he failed. Which only really made him succeed.

And so now there is Rose, and it’s not like it hasn’t happened to greats before. Isiah Thomas made maybe the worst ever inbounds pass to cost a playoff series. He went on to win a pair or titles.

It isn’t like the greats didn’t fail; it’s that they come back and try again. And that was the point Rose was making, another step in his remarkable development.

“I never would have thought in a million years I’d miss both free throws,” Rose said before going out for some pregame shooting. “At the time it definitely hurt. I talked to a few people. People try to encourage you. I know if I am in that position again it will be a different outcome. It’s something I live for. If anything, I hurt for not only me but the city of Chicago. Knowing how big that game was not only for me but the organization and our fans all over. That’s a rivalry there, you have your best player (and he) had the opportunity to take the lead and I did not come through. The only thing I can do it hope that they stay and stick with me and I promise I won’t let them down again.”

And even if he does, that’s OK. It’s just being like Mike. Because his team and fans know he’s there to keep trying. And that’s a winning attitude.

In other issues, Rose said he’s still getting treatment but his toe doesn’t bother him anymore and on continuing rumors of Dwight Howard playing in Chicago, Rose said, “Me and Dwight definitely have a relationship, especially because we are both with Adidas. Dwight is a great player. Who wouldn’t want to play with him? But you never know what’s going to happen.”

Rose has pretty much said the same thing for several years about all the top free agents.

Also, Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton were out the game and C.J. Watson was a game time decision. Hamilton could now be out awhile as the team may try to get his groin and thigh healed. Watson is day to day and Deng could play later this week.

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