No matter the side of town youre from, if youre from Chicago and involved in any credible basketball circle, then you know the name and legend of Isiah Thomas.
Known as one of the fiercest competitors and greatest point guards to play the game, The Hall of Famer was a 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA championship and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History to go along with a resume filled with highlights and honors.
In knowing Thomas history in not only league history but Chicago hoops history, its no surprise that Derrick Rose reached out to the FIUs current coach seeking his advice.
As passed on by ProBasketballTalk, Thomas said he met Rose last season during a game in Detroit and that the Bulls point guard contacted him after Chicagos season was ended by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"He was pretty down," Thomas said. "He asked me 'How did you do it? How did you win back-to-back championships at this size?' And my response to him was that once you understand your opponent and know your opponent better than you know yourself, you'll win."
Rose was last seasons MVP and helped the Bulls to the leagues best record. Shouldering most of the offense throughout the playoffs seemed to catch up with him and the Heat beat the Bulls in five games.
While the Bulls take all personal acknowledgments and criticism in stride always focusing on the team rather than one Rose has publicly placed the blame of the series loss on himself and his humble yet competitive demeanor has impressed Thomas.
"He's very courageous," Thomas said of Rose. "You've got to be courageous and you've got to make sacrifices in terms of your body to have success as a small man in the NBA and to win championships.
"And I emphasize win championships, because you can pile up statistics and great numbers playing a non-aggressive style and have a great career. But if you want to win championships, you have to pay the price and Derrick is definitely paying the price."
Derrick has already suffered through a turf toe injury this season and is dealing with back spasms.
The shortened season has made every team wary on how they handle players minutes, but Roses old school mentality is to play if hes able to; something that mirrors the toughness that Thomas entire career is defined by.
He's somebody where in Chicago, you definitely got to look up to, especially being a guard, winning championships in this league, said Rose.