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Rose’s fairy tale will continue in Sunday’s All-Star Game
by Sam Smith
Posted on Feb 25
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The magic slipper Sunday will be orange, Florida orange as it were, the color of the Adidas sneakers Derrick Rose will wear to start for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star Game.
One of the most enduring tales in literature is the story of the unfortunate but pious and dutiful child who remains humble and virtuous amidst the greed and selfishness and then is rewarded, as it happens the symbol being the glass slipper — or sneaker if modernized — that fits and brings unimagined rewards.
Known as Cinderella among many versions that have included King Lear and the brothers Grimm, the story is ageless and has been a metaphor for working hard to rise up from poor circumstances to gain your rewards.
And so perhaps it’s the Derrick Rose story as well as talk circulated at the All-Star game, confirmed later by Rose after initial reports by Comcast SportsNet, that Adidas and Rose completed a massive “lifetime” sneaker contract worth more than $200 million. Earlier this season, Rose signed a nearly $100 million five year deal with the Bulls.
We know Rose’s story of coming out of the tough Englewood neighborhood amidst hardships but enduring and earning fame, and eventually growing fortune.
“It’s a blessing, definitely a blessing,” Rose said Saturday before All-Star practice. “They’ve (Adidas) been with me since the beginning and stuck with me and I’m happy I’m a part of them for the rest of my (playing) life. They’ve been doing everything promotional wise to make sure they put me out there, marketing me great all over the world. That’s all I needed from them. It’s great, man. Of course, we’ve been trying to get it out of the way for a long time. I just remember them bringing it up to me and I couldn’t really think about the amount. It was crazy. I’m just blessed and feel grateful now.”
Asked if he’ll feel more pressure now given the amount that by some estimates is the biggest such current deal in the NBA, Rose said: “Not at all. I know that with the way that I play and how hard I work, I know I should be fine.”
Rose, by the way, has several color changes with his sneakers for special occasions, like the All-Star game. He wore yellow last year in sunny Los Angeles and has a green version planned for the Bulls March 17 St. Patrick’s game. Earlier this season, he wore “the Brenda,” the red version named for his mother, whose favorite color is red. Bulls red, obviously, as well. The sneaker also contains a computer chip with monitors by computer various factors like speed and acceleration, which the Bulls were able to use with Rose’s recent back injury to measure, for example, if his bursts of speed were slower and thus help analyze whether he was ready to return. I’m not sure Chuck Taylor ever thought about that.
One never can say, but for all the players I’ve been around, I’d have to agree and expect this kid to change less than any despite his mounting wealth.
Asked about it being fulfilling, Rose was about to answer when evil stepsister, I mean All-Star starting backcourt teammate Dwyane Wade, walked by and overhearing the question, joked: “It’s so fulfilling, so fulfilling.”
Actually both Wade and LeBron James, fellow Nike endorsers, were complimentary and supportive, and Kevin Durant, answering questions standing next to Rose in the so called “mixed zone” interview setup where players stand side-by-side behind a barrier, said he was envious of the speculated 14-year deal.
“Wow,” said Durant. “D-Rose deserves everything he’s getting.” He’s an unbelievable leader. So humble. Approaches the game every single day with a focus and plays hard. If you looked out on the court and didn’t know who he was, you wouldn’t think he’s the MVP of the league.”
Rose then joined teammate Luol Deng and the other All-Stars for a public practice at the carnival Jam Session. There’s been much good natured speculation about how serious minded Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would coach the All-Stars in a game which doesn’t involve much defense or discipline.
Thibodeau has been saying he’s smart enough to know his role as with the Bulls record Thibodeau and the Bulls coaching staff are managing the East team with good guy Scott Brooks coaching the Western Conference with his top assistant, Chicago’s Maurice Cheeks.
Though Thibodeau appeared to have some light moments on the court with veteran All-Stars like Kobe Bryant — both teams practiced at the same time for a few thousand fans — Thibodeau was animated and serious in the practice with a live microphone attached.
“He’s way more relaxed,” said Rose. “I don’t think we’re going to have any closeout drills. It’s going to be regular fun for the kids.”
Thibodeau understood not to use foul language, which can slip out during the Bulls regular closed practices. But there apparently were no promises about not being serious, which Thibodeau was with the sort of direction you can hear in the United Center during games. “Stay up stay up,” Thibodeau yelled out. “Ice,” he called out, which is the way the team can play the pick and roll. Thibodeau called some play like “punch four,” “one down” and a “one/three pick and roll.”
Thibodeau clearly was having fun, but it’s also difficult not to be Thibodeau.
“The coach I have now,” Deng was saying when asked about Thibodeau before the practice, “I set three alarms and have my friends call me. You don’t want to miss practice.”
And, at least down the stretch, the players feel you don’t want to miss this All-Star game with a perimeter of Rose, James and Wade.
“The game should be exciting,” Rose said. “A lot of people should like it. I think Dwight (Howard) can (get the MVP) himself (without his help). He’s a great player. He can definitely dominate a game. I can’t wait to see him out there. I haven’t (gone to Disneyworld). My family is here. I’ll go eat with them and have some fun with them. I would have to say just relaxing with my family (what Rose most enjoys about the All-Star weekend). I rarely get time to do that. Whenever I see them, it’s only for a couple of minutes and then I have to go get on a plane or go try to get rest. Now just relaxing with them, eating with them, talking to them feels great.
“I get a lot of support from my teammates,” Rose said. “One of my teammates is here, Luol. He’s one of the reasons why our team is successful. He’s been consistent this year, playing great ball. He should’ve made it last year but I’m happy he’s here this year.”
Rose said he feels strong this season even with the injuries he’s had.
“I run on the treadmill wherever I’m at,” Rose said. “I get a lot of rest, eat right. I think we only have like 10 practices this year. Most of our practices come from film and walkthrough. You really have to focus in on what you did the previous game and learn from it. I’m lifting a little more to make sure my body holds up through this crazy season.”
And playing for Thibodeau actually helps that.
“If you’re not ready, it can hit you out of nowhere,” Rose said of Thibodeau’s demands. “But you get used to it. I remember coming in last year, it was a little tiring. The more you do it, the more you get used to it. That’s the way you end up playing, trying to play hard every possession. (But) that’s why we’re winning now. We have a lot of guys who can take it. They’ve been in winning programs before and know what it takes to win.”
But it doesn’t come when you want it.
“Patience,” Rose said of what he’s learned most in the NBA. “That’s huge. That’s something I’m working on. It’s coming along but I’m a long ways off. You want to be successful so bad after putting in the work. You tend to rush things. And you can’t do that. You have to have patience.”
It’s not just a myth.