MIAMI — Before the disappointing regular-season opener, Bulls superstar Derrick Rose was brimming with optimism.
A stellar preseason behind him and a matchup with the rival Heat were less than an hour away, but there was another reason for the Chicago native to be excited: Rose’s infant son, P.J., was in attendance to see his father play on the road for the first time, according to the 25-year-old point guard.
“Yeah, first road game,” he said, cracking a wide smile. “He’s here. He’ll be cheering. He actually knows who I am right now, so that’s pretty cool.”
Of course, Rose had no idea that the Bulls would lose, 107-95, to the Heat, but given that the child is too young to be familiar with all of the on-court occurrences, if he even managed to stay awake for the entirety of the defeat, here’s hoping he doesn’t hold it against Derrick Rose, Sr.
Several of Rose’s family and friends made the trip down to Miami for the game, so while all of Chicago (and the basketball-watching public) were obsessed with every twist and turn of the season-opening showdown, at least in the early, competitive stages, Rose was, as usual, somewhat insulated from the hype.
“We’re in Miami. I really didn’t talk to anybody there (in Chicago) yet,” he said. “All my friends, family are here, so I don’t know what’s going on back there, but I can only imagine how it is. I know how many fans we have."
But with his close-knit circle on hand to support him, Rose did acknowledge the magnitude of the affair.
“I wouldn’t say a celebration, (but) they’re not going to miss this one, I’ll say that. Have the opportunity to come here, get some good weather, get some sun and enjoy a good game,” he explained. “This is a huge opportunity for me, and I’m going to try to take advantage of it and see how it works.”
It was ultimately unsuccessful for the Bulls, and Rose individually didn’t have his best showing, scoring 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting on the night. But the pressure of living up to the hype wasn’t to blame, as he expects the entire season to be similar, with media and fans alike — President Barack Obama, a Bulls fan, sent him a “welcome back” message on Twitter — closely examining every step of his comeback season.
“I think it’s going to be this way the whole season, the way this feels,” he said, laughing. “But it comes with the territory. Just got to prepare myself for it.”