By 2011, it appeared that Derrick Rose would be a future face of the league. The first legitimate star for the Chicago Bulls since Michael Jordan, Rose was the 1st overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Within a few years, Rose won Rookie Of The Year, became an All-Star, and earned the honor of becoming the youngest ever NBA MVP in 2011, at the age of 22.
Rose was the first MVP for the Bulls franchise not named Michael Jordan. And with Rose at the helm, the Bulls had built a solid contender around him with players Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and many other stars.
In the eyes of many, the Eastern Conference was always going to be between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. Rose broke LeBron’s dominance in the MVP race, and people thought he and the Bulls could do the same for his championship aspirations.
But all of that changed during the 2012 NBA playoffs. The Bulls were facing off against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. In Game 1, the Bulls had the win secured, thanks to another solid D-Rose performance.
In the dying moments of the game, Rose went to dunk the ball but landed extremely awkwardly on his knee. Rose was taken off the court, and a later prognosis revealed that he had torn his ACL.
Former Bulls teammate Joakim Noah spoke about Rose’s injury (26:20 mark). Noah, much like many other teammates and fans were heartbroken by the injury, especially because of how well the Bulls were doing. Noah lamented the way his career spiraled after that injury, and noted that it changed the course of NBA history.
“It was definitely tough because – you look back at that time – we were the No. 1 team in the NBA. We had the best record, playoffs start, Game 1, we are on a mission. We just lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to Miami. We got Rip now, and we’re like this is the year. This is the year we’re getting shit. Then, he tore his ACL, and I think everyone kind of remembers where they were, what they were doing when that sh*t happens. One of those moments when I heard he tore his ACL – I didn’t even think much of it when it happened. I thought, ‘okay, he’ll miss a couple of games and he’ll be back.’ But, it was depressing as hell.”
From that moment on, Rose has not been able to recover his excellent skill level and athleticism. Rose is still in the NBA and has shown that he can be a solid player. But he is no longer the superstar that he once was.