Derrick Rose’s persistent journey is a perfect match with Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Derrick Rose never looked like he’d leave the Chicago Bulls. But five surgeries later, he’s a perfect match for the Detroit Pistons.

Toughness, grit and perseverance are just a few words that describe the city of Detroit, the Pistons and the “Bad Boys,” but they also embody Derrick Rose’s relentless drive to find his game again after four major knee surgeries.

Back in 2011, next to nobody could’ve foreseen that Rose, the former Chicago Bull, would become a Detroit Piston. It was a surefire bet that the Chicago native would play his entire career with his hometown team after lighting up the NBA to be named the league’s youngest MVP at 22 years old.

However, just a few seasons ago Rose’s future was in question after having to fight through a bone spur in his left ankle while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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“The lowest point I would say was the last time in Cleveland when I got taken out of the air because I thought my career was over,” Rose said. “I wasn’t able to run for a month-and-a-half. I didn’t know what was going on with my ankle and I was just trying to figure things out.”

Rose took a leave of absence from the team, later admitting that he was trying to figure out if he wanted to continue playing with the toll injuries had taken on him. Rose re-joined the Cavaliers, but was traded to the Utah Jazz on Feb. 8, 2018, followed by being waived two days later.

Rose found his way back in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves, reuniting with former Bulls Tom Thibodeau, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng.

“Thibs gave me a lookout when I went to Minnesota,” Rose said. “I was just trying to find a way in and thank God I found a way in.”

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After four knee surgeries and multiple other injuries, Rose found his game again in Minnesota culminated by an emotional 50-point night against the Jazz, who waived him the previous season.  Rose said the career night meant everything as he was overwhelmed with emotions after all the injuries he fought through to get to that point.

“I never gave up,” Rose said. “It plays a role in the character that I have … I never want [my kids] to look back and see that I gave up. Me having my kids I feel like played a huge role, especially coming back and pushing through everything right now like being 30, going through five surgeries and just understanding where I’m at in my career.”

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Said former Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau: “You’re just happy for him because this guy has been through a lot. He’s been through a lot of adversity. He’s probably one of the most mentally tough people that I’ve ever come across. I believe in this guy. I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve said this many times when he’s healthy, he’s one of the best players in this league.”

Rose averaged 18 points and 4.3 assists per game off the bench for the Timberwolves. The 12-year veteran now continues his story in Detroit where he is averaging 16.6 points per game on a career-high 48.3% from the floor, along with 6 assists per game.

Everything that Detroit stands for fits Rose’s determination to pick himself up time and time again after countless injuries.

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“I got to Year 12 by fighting and clawing my way to get where I’m at,” Rose said. “My appreciation of the game is very high right now.”