Derrick Rose is honest: He rests games to protect his body long term

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What Derrick Rose has matured. He has perspective. What he’s doing is right.

Some fans will jump on him — some Bulls fans are all to quick to jump on him — because we have this perspective that all athletes should be gladiators who wear their scars with pride and play through as much pain as they can tolerate. Most fans call for that while sitting on their couch, or at a bar stool.

Derrick Rose returned from ankle sprains on Monday night, after taking a little extra time off to make sure he was 100 percent, and he looked good in his return (24 points, 7 assists). But his critics want to call him soft or brittle for taking too long to get back on the court.

Rose was honest speaking to Nick Friedell of ESPN — he’s thinking long-term with his injuries and not playing through sprained ankles and the like as he did in his early years. By long-term I don’t mean the playoffs, I mean the stuff that really matters.

If you think there’s something wrong with that perspective, well, there’s something wrong with you.

Rose is a person, an entertainer gifted enough athletically and willing to put in the work to become an NBA player. An MVP. That has provided him a very comfortable lifestyle and a lot of fame. But that alone should not define him — there are things that are more important. He is not there to sacrifice his body for our entertainment (any more than anyone else who chooses to play a professional sport does).

Good on Rose for being honest when he had to know there would be backlash. He’s smart and mature enough to know that backlash is misguided.

And he knows those same people will be on his bandwagon if he’s healthy come the playoffs and the Bulls are a threat to win it all.