Derrick Rose is one of the biggest 'what-if' stories in the NBA. Rose entered the league in 2008 and immediately took it by storm. Derrick Rose looked set to be the next big superstar for the Chicago Bulls since Michael Jordan. And at age 22, Rose went on to win the NBA MVP title, making him the youngest winner of the award in the league's history.
The stage was set for what seemed like the next big superstar in basketball. But one horrible injury in the playoffs derailed his career. Rose continued to struggle with injuries for the better part of the 2010s. And now in 2020, he has seemingly gotten over those issues and has become a consistently good, if not great player for the New York Knicks. Despite Rose still being successful in the league, fans cannot help but wonder how different the NBA would be right now had Rose never sustained that horrendous injury.
One person who always believed in Derrick Rose was none other than NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Bryant was a veteran, a 3-time NBA champion, and the reigning MVP when Rose entered the league, and got to witness his progress first hand. Bryant even gave great respect to Rose in an interview (swipe post below) during Rose's meteoric rise to superstardom.
In an interview with Michael Wilbon, Kobe noted how Rose worked harder than most people to achieve success. He pointed to the fact that his jump shot was weak when he first joined the league. But over time, Rose was able to develop his shot and become one of the best shooters in the league. Bryant had great respect for Rose because of the time he put into improving himself.
“He came in when nobody said he could shoot. Just like that, one summer, he has a jump shot. That doesn’t happen overnight. I’m proud of him.”
The two had a very strong relationship, especially after they worked together in the promotion for the NBA 2K10 video game. Bryant and Rose were two of the featured athletes and were involved in a commercial for the game to promote it. In the commercial, the two were dueling over why the other was better. After Bryant mentioned his championship success, Rose gave up, remarking "I can't say anything to that", to which both players just began to laugh.
Bryant and Rose were very close, and the two clearly had great respect for each other. They never got to play high-stakes playoff basketball with or against each other, but they understood each other's game very well. Getting the chance to watch Kobe and Rose go against each other in a high-stakes game would have been great for fans, but we were never able to see that happen. Hopefully, Rose will get more playoff basketball opportunities as his career comes to a close.