What do you want him to say?
You ask any elite NBA player who the best player in the Association is and they should say themselves. You don’t want them to say, “I’m pretty good but that LeBron James guy…” You don’t get to be that good without some ego and swagger.
So whether he spent last season on the shelf or not, when Derrick Rose was asked by CNN who the best player in the NBA is, you knew what the response would be. Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com summed the whole thing up well.
Thus, when the former league MVP was asked by CNN who the NBA’s best player is, it shouldn’t shock anybody that he answered, “Derrick Rose.” Any other response would have been unacceptable from a player of his ilk….
Knowing that he’s set to resume his role as the face of the franchise, shouldering the Bulls’ offensive burden and being the focus of opposing scouting reports in a season where the expectations are to contend for a title, if he wasn’t confident enough to accept that responsibility, then that would be a cause for concern. After Rose’s season-long hiatus, while he might not be fretting over how he’s perceived in the court of public opinion, he certainly realizes the increased pressure created by his extended absence and by giving himself that extra time to fully recover, he has to believe that he’s put himself in the best possible position to rejoin basketball’s elite.
Bingo. Nail on the head.
Rose’s handling of his injury return certainly gave him a PR hit in Chicago. As it should have — he had the right to wait until he was ready to come back, but his dragging out of the possibility of a return last season and working out before games tarnished his image.
The only way he fixes that is win. I figure by about Game 5 next season Chicago will have moved on and we’ll be trying to decide if the Bulls are contenders.
By the way, Game 1 for the Bulls is going to be against the Miami Heat. Welcome back to the NBA, Derrick.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.