Derrick Rose wasn’t motivated by his love of the game so much in recent seasons as revenge — he wanted to prove all the doubters wrong. All the people who said he would never make it back to the top in the NBA, everyone who said he was washed up, everyone who said the series of knee injuries did him in.
No more — he’s comfortable in his own skin and just wants to do whatever is needed to win a title in Cleveland. Rose talked about it with Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“I was in a dark place years ago, man,” Rose said Saturday. “By a dark place, I mean, I was playing, like, revenge basketball, and that wasn’t my way of playing basketball.
“I enjoy competing, but when I came back it was about just trying to get back to the top and proving everybody wrong. Like, I know who I am as a man, I know who I am as a player or person. There’s no point in doing that anymore. It’s just being secure as a person and knowing who I am.”
Maybe reality hit Rose when the best offer on the table for him was $2.1 million from the Cavaliers. Whatever the motivation, the Cavaliers need Rose this season.
Rose was signed to be the backup to Kyrie Irving, just go out with the second unit and get some buckets and keep things tight while the stars rest (something the Cavs struggled with last season). Then Irving was traded for an injured Isaiah Thomas, and with him out for an unspecified first part of the season — there is a rumor the Cavs are targeting Christmas for his return — Rose is going to have to be the starting point. Which means working off the ball with LeBron, and picking his moments to get his. While reports out of Cavs workouts are good, we all need to see it in person to buy in.
Rose, though, will still get his chance to prove everyone wrong. Maybe not wanting to is the key.