It’s one thing when nobody like you is having any success.
It’s another thing entirely when somebody almost exactly like you has got a Chip and is now being considered among the best ever.
And really, when Derrick Rose entered the league as the Chicago Bulls’ first pick and the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, a point guard shorter than 6’4″ hadn’t been the unquestionable leader of a team that won the NBA Finals since Isiah Thomas’ 1990 Detroit Pistons.
Hell, a point guard that short hadn’t even taken a team to the NBA Finals since 6’0″ Allen Iverson had done it in 2001 with the Philadelphia 76ers and he’d been playing 2-guard when he did it.
And it wasn’t that the position itself didn’t have that many leaders that had won championships; Magic Johnson had done it when he was arguably the leader of those storied 80’s Lakers teams that featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson might have been the leader of that Milwaukee Bucks teams that also featured Abdul-Jabbar, though back when Abdul-Jabbar was sill Lew Alcindor, but Magic was 6’9″ and The Big O was 6’5″.
The only point guard shorter than those guys which had led a team to NBA Championships had been the Knicks Clyde Frazier who was 6’4″.
And while you could make interesting arguments suggesting that although Tim Duncan was still the titular leader, it was 6’2″ Tony Parker that led a few of those Spurs championship teams and that 6’3″ Chauncey Billups and not, maybe, Rasheed Wallace had led those 2004 Piston champions, but essentially, aside from Isiah Thomas who was 6’1″, at 6’3″, Derrick Rose faced the prospect of being the next shortest player to be the undeniable team leader on a team that won a championship.
Then Steph Curry happened.
Steph Curry, all 6’3″ of him.
And it could no longer be argued that the NBA was simply not a small guard’s league.
Curry, a NBA MVP in 2014 and 2015 as Rose had been in 2011, led his Golden State Warriors to back-to-back Finals appearances, winning the thing in 2015.
For a while, Rose might have been able to convince himself that if the injury bug hadn’t got him starting in the 2011-2012 season, he would have, by now, attained the glory that Steph had gotten.
But when Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson came back from the exact same meniscus tear that he, Derrick Rose, had suffered, to rush for more than 2000 yards in a much rougher sport, it was starting to look like poor Derrick might just be brittle.
Then something that, on the surface, must have looked horrible, starting looking like it might be Derrick’s path toward salvation.
6’3″ Kyrie Irving, who, along with Rose and Iverson – though excluding 6’4″ John Wall – had been the shortest point guards taken first overall in the NBA draft since the Houston Rockets picked 6’3″ John Lucas back in 1976, played the perfect Robin to LeBron James’ Batman as the duo led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2015-2016 NBA Championship.
Now aware that there was more than one way to get a Chip, Rose must have been ecstatic over the trade this summer which brought him to the New York Knicks and gave him a chance to team up with LeBron-lite, Carmelo Anthony.
But, if you’ve been watching basketball at all this year, you know that things haven’t been going that well at all for the Knicks.
So an unexcused absence for Derrick Rose from Monday’s January 8th, 2017 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans so that he could go home to Chicago and deal with “family issues”?