After promoting his new shoe at the adidas store on Michigan Ave. and greeting several hundred adoring fans outside the State St. Footlocker, Bulls All-Star point guard Derrick Rose took to the court--playing in the aforementioned sneaker, of course.
With the start of the NBA season still in doubt, Rose had to find a way to stay busy and took part in pickup games with some of his biggest fans.
Rapper Common, a former Bulls ballboy himself, participated in three-on-three games with kids from throughout the region at the James Jordan Boys and Girls Club on the West Side--around the corner from the United Center, where Rose would normally be playing this time of year--exuded tremendous pride in being able to take the court with his fellow South Side product.
"It's a good feeling because this dude, he's special, man. He's real special and the way he carries himself is ultimate. He's very special and just to be able to see somebody that comes from the South Side, of humble beginnings, that represents Chicago well, that represents just manhood well and is a killer on the court, but a good spirit, that's what we're about," said Common. "That's what Chicago is about and I think Derrick Rose represents Chicago and his family and himself in the best way possible."
Added Rose's brother, Reggie, on his younger sibling's maturation: "The way he's grown, grown not only into a man, but he's understanding a lot now. Even with his financial stuff, he used to call me and say, 'Hey, Reggie, how much money is going to be here?' I'd say, 'Well, Derrick, if you go online, your portfolio is right there.' So, now he's stepping up and trying to be more of a man and a professional."
Even dealing with the media, the once-reticent 23-year-old has somewhat shed his shell to display more of himself as a well-rounded person, instead of just a highlight machine with little to say, except regarding the game itself.
"It was more him being comfortable with himself and also him learning how to gain relationships with reporters," said Reggie Rose. "He might see a guy he's comfortable with, but I think now, when you say, 'Hey, Derrick, what's up' and all that, he knows, so he gets more comfortable with you and he's more open."
While fans shouldn't anticipate Rose sitting in on current NBA labor negotiations, the perception that the shy kid with the loud game won't speak up isn't quite so accurate these days.
"I've been so busy, where I haven't had time to go into the news or anything like that, but my agents, Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong have been doing a great job with keeping me up with the updates and I'm supposed to be talking to 'D-Fish' in a couple days or Paul Pierce," said Rose.
"The biggest thing is you just want to get back out there and play. The lockout going to hurt us, but I think it's going to hurt basketball, period."