COLUMN: Learning from the life of Derrick Rose
You are the number one pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. You average 16.8 points and 6.3 assists per game, earning you the title of Rookie of the Year as you lead your team to the playoffs and win a gold medal on the US National Basketball team. In just your third year, you have become the youngest MVP in the history of the NBA at 22 years of age. As the hometown hero, your future has no limitations.
Then in an instant, your world plummets into the ground. This was the case for NBA All Star Derrick Rose.
In a 2012 playoff game with about one minute remaining, Rose tore his ACL, sparking a number of setbacks and transgressions on and off the court in his life.
In Nov. of 2013 he tore his meniscus, leaving him sidelined until April when he then tore it again, Feb. 2015.
To start the 2016-17 season, Rose was traded from his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks. During this time period Rose faced adversity in the courtroom and on the basketball court.
Rose became involved in a civil trial over a rape allegation that was dismissed due to the jury not believing the woman’s story. Meanwhile on the court, Rose completed his fourth knee surgery.
The next year Rose was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. His 2017-’18 season, however, was short lived. After being out with another injury Rose gained permission from the Cavs front office to take a self-imposed exile for two weeks to assess and contemplate retirement.
Before I go into the milestones and the ending of his underdog story thus far, it’s important to mention his struggles of depression and what got him through his mental slump.
Rose has two children, a boy named Derrick (PJ) Rose Jr. and a daughter, Layla. He is now married to girlfriend Alaina Anderson. Rose said back in 2017 that 3-4 years ago he struggled because he “put himself into a shell” but now he is the opposite despite all the tragedy in his life, stating he had learned from his mistakes and that his family has been the reason for his newfound happiness.
This is not just about Rose or myself. There is something to take away from this for whoever you might be. Your will, love and determination can and will get you through anything. The only uncertain aspect is time. We all have something holding us back, but we also all can conquer whatever that thing may be. — Connor Jens
To contribute, Rose is a devout Christian. He may not be as outspoken as fellow NBA player Jeremy Lin, but Rose has always been known to credit his success and gifts to God’s glory, as well in tough losses, being known to say “God does everything for a reason”. Not to mention his tattoos of an angel, cross, one saying “God’s Child” and another saying “Only God Can Judge Me”.
So far in the 2018-19 season Rose has had two career highs: 50 points in a game and 7 threes in a game, which so happened to also break the franchise record for 3’s in a game for a Minnesota Timberwolves player. He is averaging 19.2 points per game along with 4.8 assists per game and is shooting 48% from the three point line proving to be a top candidate for the sixth man of the year award.
As a basketball player, I view Rose as my role model on the court and emotionally. The amount of adversity and personal issues which tormented Rose was my reality. Seeing him back and playing arguably MVP caliber basketball at 30 years of age after all the major injuries is inspiring, let alone incredible. I strive to overcome as he does and to have success through it all regardless of the obstacles in my way.
For the entirety of my high school basketball career I have been the new kid. The kid who was good but not known well enough. The kid who was frustrated, depressed and just wanted to play. The kid who didn’t earn his keep until the second year.
At my old high school, I was a freshman on the JV team, working to prove I belonged, only being good enough in their eyes to make the team and sit the bench. I’ve been battling with my depression since 7th grade and it has played a significant role in the person I am today, positively and negatively.
My sophomore year I averaged 19 points per game and felt like I belonged, not only to the team but to a family. Then I moved here to Fresno Christian only to restart the process all over again. And again, it took a full year to adjust and become apart of another family.
Basketball has saved my life and almost losing my love and passion for it was a difficult lesson. Much like Rose, my off court struggles and on court setbacks colliding put up a wall that I am now leaping over after a couple years of behind trapped by it.
Being placed in another situation where I had to prove myself combined with my mental blockades made last year a tough one, lacking motivation and happiness as I normally possess for basketball reflected and affected things even though my effort and skill were still there.
I still face the same problems but now I feel truly a part of a team again and can see that I am needed again, that I bring something to the table and now it is showing at least to myself which will affect my play in a positive light just as Rose.
Rose found security in God and his family and that’s where I have found mine. God has a plan for us all and despite how low we may be. He always has a way for us to shine back up. Those transgressions may still be there–they do not always go away, but you learn to live with it and succeed in it.
Anyone could take this story and apply it to themselves. This is not just about Rose or myself–there is something to take away from this for whoever you might be. Your will, love and determination can and will get you through anything. The only uncertain aspect is time. We all have something holding us back, but we also all can conquer whatever that thing may be.
For more columns, read Cal Poly offers beneficial pre-application programs and Small school, big dreams.
Connor Jens can be reached via email.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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