Unless you are a fan of the Miami Heat, or a Utah Jazz fan still bitter about the Jordan push-off on Byron Russell, you should be rooting for this years Chicago Bulls squad. Playing short-handed all season long, they have played with an immense amount of heart and pride, including their stunning victory last night in game one against the aforementioned reigning champion Miami Heat.
Though the victory came without key contributors throughout the season like Luol Deng and Kirk Heinrich, the biggest absence (and most discussed) is of course the former MVP sitting on the bench in a suit all season long, Derrick Rose. Rose’s decision to not play this season after tearing his ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first game of the playoffs last year has been criticized by many, and seemingly defended by few. However, a member of those “few” have been his Chicago teammates, and star center Joakim Noah is leading the pro-Rose charge.
Noah had some strong statements regarding the Rose situation, which basically boils down to him saying “you don’t know what it’s like, so shut up.” Here is what Noah said via Matt Moore of CBSSports.com:
“Derrick’s a brother,” Noah said. “And to see him go through this is tough, but at the end of the day it’s really funny how quick people are to judge. But people don’t know what it’s like to lead a team, especially after you tore your ACL.
“If you tore your ACL and you have to be the starting point guard and have the expectations that Derrick has, then maybe you can judge, but everybody who hasn’t been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it’s just so unfair to him and to this team. We’re fighting, and everybody’s going to just s— on somebody who’s been giving so much to this organization. It’s crazy to me.”
This is a telling statement from Noah, who is playing through a painful plantar fasciitis injury himself. If anything, you would think that Noah may be less sympathetic given his circumstances, and may have a “I’m fighting through my injury Derrick, why aren’t you fighting through yours?” attitude. Noah’s stance in support of Rose is just another symbol of how close this team is, and a constant reminder of why you should be rooting for them all playoffs long.
By: Frank Santos