Bulls

Bulls: Rose's return to the big stage met by hopeful crowd

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Bulls: Rose's return to the big stage met by hopeful crowd

The deafening roar almost seemed like a wail from the crowd when Derrick Rose was announced, upon recognition this was the first time Rose would perform in a game with true meaning since…that day.

That wail turned to nearly begging when Rose took an awkward fall in the first quarter and he lay on his back for a few seconds.

“I was just tired as hell,” he confessed. “All I heard was Joakim (Noah) telling me to take my time. I just needed to catch my breath.”

While he was catching his, the United Center held theirs, hoping, praying it wasn’t that. “Not again”, you could almost hear from the crowd wearing red shirts—and had their fears come true, some eyes would’ve been red with tears.

“It was just a veteran move, to catch my breath a little bit before play starts again,” he said.

[MORE: Rose, Butler lead Bulls to first blood over game Bucks]

Tom Thibodeau didn’t say if he felt any trepidation by seeing Rose hit the floor a few times, this franchise’s most precious player, but Rose wasn’t the least bit concerned—the one player in the building who could say such a thing.

The Bulls’ fans don’t have that luxury after three years of feeling like they’ve watched a bunch of background singers take the stage, the headliner is back, and you get the feeling that while a championship is what they want, what they truly crave is the chance to stop imagining and see what this total product actually looks like.

Like a soul singer who lost his voice for a short while, leaving fans afraid if he’ll never sing again, Rose went to full Ronald Isley-mode, belting out those old tunes fans thought they could only hear from memory but never again in present form.

Splitting double-teams and gliding past long Milwaukee Buck defenders for layups, crossing over second-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams on the way to a reverse layup in the second quarter.

[MORE: Bucks have the right attitude, but execution needs work]

And that dunk off the pass from Jimmy Butler? That’s just Rose showing off, hitting the high note just to prove he can, even if he can’t do it on call.

“It’s exciting. He’s makes everything easier for everybody,” Butler said. “I don’t really have to do much whenever he has the ball. I just have to spot up and make some shots.”

When Rose walked to the scorer’s table in the second quarter, the crowd reacted with huge cheers, like it wasn’t sure he would come back after the fall, unaware he was resting.

So shell-shocked, every little movement that results in Rose hitting the floor is met with audible gasps, and if Bucks bruiser Zaza Pachulia actually nails Rose with a hard foul at some point this series, he’ll need a few armed escorts to get out of the building in one piece.

“Special,” said Noah, arguably Rose’s biggest fan. “It was great to see him moving like that knowing he has gone through so much. When he is down, we are down; When he is up, you can see what it does to this team.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Buy a Derrick Rose jersey]

Rose’s stat line of 23 points and seven assists (in 27 minutes, no less) fall in line with his unblemished career playoff averages of 25.1 points and 7.3 assists, built on the body of a prime playoff performer who feared nothing and no one—and if he has that mindset this time around, that feeling will eventually permeate through the battered crowd.

For now, they’re nervous and cautious, and if the intuitive Rose caught onto that, he let them know everything was okay when exiting the game before halftime after picking up foul number three—by motioning for them to get on their feet while he walked to the bench.

Of course they obliged, and the usually-composed Rose gave a window into his own humanity, birthed out of his own basketball mortality.

“When you miss a long period of time, playing a sport you love playing, dedicating your life to one craft or art, it comes out in a weird way,” Rose said.

For him, “weird” is doing what Russell Westbrook or LeBron James does on the regular, calling for the adoration.

[MORE BULLS: GM Gar Forman addresses minutes restrictions]

“I didn’t mean to do it on purpose,” said Rose, almost apologetically. “It just came out. I’ve been in grind mode, this entire time I’ve been grinding. I feel like I’ve been preparing myself for this game tonight.”

And he wasn’t done, issuing the coup de grace in the third, hitting three straight triples to allow the game to breathe a little bit, followed by the appreciative “MVP” chants as he made his way to the free-throw line after being fouled.

“It felt good, it felt normal,” Rose said. “I’m grateful to be playing again.”

And so grateful was Thibodeau, who removed Rose with the game in hand at 51 seconds remaining, cracking a small smirk as he patted Rose on the back when Rose exited—to the same standing ovation, only this time, the crowd knew to get on its feet.

He didn’t have to ask, and they didn’t have to beg. They just pray it’s not a one-night only showing.

'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

On Friday ESPN revealed that the next film in their award-winning 30 for 30 series will focus on the life of former Bull and Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman. 

The film—which is titled "Rodman: For Better or Worse" will detail Rodman's journey to becoming a Hall of Famer and five-time NBA Champion. The documentary will detail Rodman's difficult upbringing in Dallas, his dominant run at Southeastern Oklahoma State and his development into one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. 

While Rodman is no doubt one of the greatest talents in NBA history, he is just as famous for his intriguing and oftentimes shocking off the court exploits. Rodman: For Better or Worse will discuss Rodman diving into international diplomacy issues and all of the deeper reasons behind him becoming the interesting character that we know him as today. 

The documentary will feature interviews from former teammates and coaches of Rodman's, including Bill Laimbeer,  John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, and Phil Jackson. 

Rodman: For Better or Worse will be directed by Todd Kapostasy. 

Kapostasy is a seven-time Emmy Award winner. He wrote and directed 2016 documentary 'Confessions of a Cubs Fan: A Century of Waiting', which focused on the idea that winning isn't everything in sports amid the backdrop of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series.

“Rodman: For Better or Worse” released on September 10, at 8 p.m. CT

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Coby White becomes first rookie in NBA history to understand his NBA2K rating

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NBA 2K20

Coby White becomes first rookie in NBA history to understand his NBA2K rating

It's that time of the year when every fan and player loses their mind over arbitray video game ratings that mean nothing.

That is, unless you're Coby White.

The rookie found out his rating for NBA 2K20 in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday and, much to the delight of this author, was pleased with his 76 rating.

"It's solid," White told Ronnie 2K. "Everybody be wanting their grade to be higher than what it is but I haven't played a game in the league yet so I understand why it's a 76. But I feel like after the season it'll be higher."

White said he hopes he can get his rating up to at least an 80 by the end of the season. Bulls fans would be pleased with that development, too.

White also said he was happy with his likeness in the game, which you can check out below.