Derrick Rose is still a hero to many in the Chicagoland area.
The Bulls’ first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Memphis, Rose guided Chicago to some playoff appearances.
Currently a member of the Detroit Pistons, Rose has career averages of 18.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists per contest.
A native of the city of Chicago’s south side neighborhood of Englewood, one of Rose’s most memorable moments in a Bulls uniform happened on Christmas day when the Bulls beat the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas day in 2011.
If you recall, that was the first game of the NBA season as the NBA and the NBA’s player union had a dispute and resulted in a lockout.
“It was such a weird start to the season,” NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson recounted on a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I mean, because of the lockout and you’re opening on Christmas Day in L.A.; it was a little depressing to be in L.A., Christmas Eve I’m not gonna lie, but obviously a cool game and you usually don’t have a season opener on Christmas Day.”
For those keeping score at home: the Lakers were led by the late Kobe Bryant and the purple and gold had a chance to ice the game and complete a comeback from a seven-point halftime deficit with 20.1 second remaining.
It didn’t happen that way!
LA struggled to get the ball inbounds and Bryant was forced into a turnover after being double-teamed.
The Black Mamba had another chance to deliver the victory following Rose’s go-ahead shot, but after getting around Luol Deng, he was greeted by a trio of defenders.
As a result, Deng was able to recover and swatted the ball away from behind.
Prior to that 20-second spurt, Kobe Bryant appeared to have the game in the bag.
Bryant scored 28 points, 14 of which had come in the second half, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists.
But it was Rose who had the final say in this one. Rose’s game-winner gave the point guard 22 points.
Rose also finished that game with five assists. Luol Deng filled his stat sheet with 21 points and four steals.
KC Johnson was amazed. “The fact that Rose hit that game-winner made it even more memorable,” he told Scoop B Radio.
“I mean I covered obviously not his lead beat guy when I worked for the Chicago Tribune, but as like a sidebar helper guy covering some Michael Jordan Christmas Day games, so those were fun too. But I’m going to go with the Rose one. That was a very memorable game.”