Retired center Joakim Noah is one of the most beloved players in the Chicago Bull's history. But his former Bulls teammate, Derrick Rose, was even more so. In an appearance on a recent episode of J.J. Redick's podcast, Noah talked about the star point guard with the hosts and explained what it was about Rose that captured people.
"First of all, he was a hometown kid," said Noah. "So, he was from the hood, from the South Side. And he was from Chicago. Some people say they're from Chicago, they're not really from Chicago, they're from the outskirts. There's a lot of those. ... He was Chicago. And, I don't care, his run at his peak, if you're from Chicago, you want it to be that. You want to be the number one pick from the Bulls, having that building rocking the way that he did. And the hope was real, the hope all around the city."
Living the fantasy
The Windy City is considered by many as the Mecca of Basketball, having produced numerous NBA stars. In addition, some natives have dreams of making it not just to the big league but also playing for the Bulls.
For Rose, who grew up in the Englewood area of Chicago's South Side, he was living the fantasy. He was the No. 1 pick of the 2008 draft, then won the MVP, repping his hometown team after a few years.
It was quite unfortunate that injuries robbed Rose of the opportunity to build a potential Hall of Fame resume and help the franchise claim its first title since the Michael Jordan era.
At his peak, the three-time All-Star averaged nearly 25 points and eight assists per game. He also led the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference standings for two straight seasons from 2010 to 2012. Unfortunately, they failed to reach the Finals because of tough competition (a.k.a. LeBron James) and injuries to the 6-foot-3 guard.
Even so, hope sprang eternal in Chicago for a time, thanks to Rose.