Frankie O weighs in on Rose's comments

Frankie O weighs in on Rose's comments
February 22, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Thirsty?

Let’s hope so, since that’s the basis of my being able to make a living. But when folks pull up a stool at the bar, it’s not just the libations they can’t get enough of. The world of sports provides plenty of reality shows for the populace to share their opinions on and thank goodness since that makes my day go by much quicker, no small consideration at my age.

As always, the beauty of these conversations is most definitely in the eye of the beholder and due to the rules of the court of public opinion, it’s hard to be wrong. At least for yours truly that is! And you have to love the fact there is something new almost every day.  

In Chicago, the supposed imminent return of Derrick Rose has now reached the soap opera stage.

That’s because on Thursday Derrick Rose’s brother Reggie Rose decided to make public his opinions on the Bulls and how his brother should act accordingly to them.

Stating that the Bulls don’t have enough talent to win a title when his brother returns is about as close to stating the obvious as you can get. That debate has raged here for the last two years with most I talk to in agreement and most of those folks do cast a curious glance at the Bulls’ hierarchy. Specifically, the addition of an “All-Star” quality shooting-guard has been universally agreed upon as the most desired missing piece to the puzzle.

But to suggest that this lack of a missing piece would be a “big factor” in whether Derrick Rose would return to play this season is, I think, stepping over a line. The player, Derrick Rose, has acquired great wealth and one of the largest followings in the NBA due to his competitive nature, which we all believe dwarfs his incredible talent. That he is a humble kid only makes him further endearing.

His brothers’ comments though have brought to light the question that has been whispered about in town for a while: Who's in charge of Derrick Rose?

Much was made of the fact that in his first public comments about his return date centered around consulting with his agent B.J. Armstrong. This raised some eyebrows locally since it is perceived that Armstrong has an ax to grind with the Bulls since not getting the GM position after Jerry Krause left and his subsequent departure from the organization 2 years later. Also in question is the fact that his shoe contract with Adidas is worth $260 million. Do they have a vested interest in “The Return?”

Valid concerns for sure, but the public I’ve been around has just been eagerly anticipating his return. Any backstage drama has been exactly that, and not a concern to fans due to their belief in the competitor Derrick Rose and his desire to return to the court as soon as he is physically able.

All of the information fans have been fed has whet the appetite for a return soon after the all-star break. This timeline has been consistent in every media report I’ve read since the end of December.

Understanding that a lot of these entities just re-write things they see coming out of this market, it’s easy to see how the timeline took a life of its own and has been repeated on just about every basketball show you can watch.

The anticipation was reaching a new level when the Bulls revealed that Rose was taking part in 5-on-5 drills at practice, seemingly the last step before game action.

But going back to that locker room interview, Rose himself dropped a bombshell. He said that he wouldn’t be back until he felt right, that he could not dunk off his “off” (left) leg and that he “didn’t mind missing this year.” Actually seeing and hearing him make this statement was a shock to most fans. The thought of a lost year has never been a prevalent thought here until that moment. That he followed that comment with his assertion about how badly he wanted to get back on the court was not really dwelled on or replayed.

Lost season?

The return has been a question I’ve been asked about more times than I can count at the bar. My response, not to sound like a company guy, has always been the same: “When he’s ready. When that is only he knows, but you know that all he wants to do is get back on the court.”

Of course I’ve always added that the end of February seemed like the target. Shows what a bartender knows about pro basketball.

But I do know a little about business. When an athlete has signed contracts for over a combined $345 million, it only figures that there are a lot of people looking out for their interests. What it comes down to it, that athlete doing what he feels is right and he is making what he feels are the best decisions for his future.
 
The perception is that Derrick Rose will do what is right.

No problems with that. This kid has earned it.

What will come into question is that he is a young man worth a lot of money and everyone knows it. And being a young man in that position, as we have seen many times, can lead to many people acting questionably around him.
 
As the Guilliens taught us too much information about behind the scenes machinations of a professional sports franchise can be dysfunctional and uncomfortable. But that’s the world we live in.

Up to now, publicly, Derrick Rose and the Bulls have been a match made in heaven, with both sides getting everything they can ask.

With the public ripping of the franchise by Derrick Rose’s brother, there are two questions: Was this a one-time lack of discretion? Or, was it a glimpse of what is going on behind the scenes with the city’s biggest sports star and his hometown franchise?

Only the future will tell, but I guess I know what I’ll be talking about at the bar this week!