Derrick Martell Rose was born on October 4, 1988 in Chicago, Illinois. Derrick goes by the nickname “Pooh,” which was giving to him by his grandmother based on his resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh as an infant. Now, Derrick has a tattoo of the words “The Great Poohdini” framing an image of a wizard holding a staff in one hand and a basketball in the other.
Derrick grew up in a neighborhood called Englewood on the southwest side of Chicago. He attended Beasley Academic Center for elementary school. It was on the courts of Beasley where Derrick began to turn heads with his basketball skills that were way beyond his age. From a very young age, Derrick was shielded from trouble by a protective family who knew he had a bright future in basketball.
Derrick played his high school ball at Simeon Career Academy. There, Derrick began making a name for himself throughout the Chicago area and eventually on a national level. He led Simeon to back to back championships, a feat that had never been done before by a public school team in Chicago. In his senior year, Derrick carried his team past then #1 ranked Oak Hill Academy, scoring 29 points, dishing out 9 assists, and grabbing 8 rebounds. It was Oak Hill’s sole loss on the year. For his effort against the nation’s top team, Derrick was named USA Today’s national high school player of the week. However, that was just the first of many honors Derrick would receive that year. After a senior season in which he averaged 25.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 3.4 steals, Derrick was about to get handsomely rewarded.
At the season’s end, Derrick was named Illinois Mr. Basketball, a prestigious award previously won by NBA players Kevin Garnett, Eddy Curry, and Shaun Livingston. That same year he was selected to play for both Team USA in the Nike Summit Game and for the West in the McDonald’s All-American Game. These two tremendous honors proved to be huge successes for Derrick as the USA Junior National Select Team defeated the World Select Team 100-80 and the West took down the East, 114-112. These performances, along with his spectacular high school career, helped make Derrick one of the most well documented and highly coveted players in the nation. He topped many scouts’ lists as the best point guard in the country and was also a consensus top-five recruit among the biggest scouting services.
After high school, Derrick elected to play for Coach John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers. During his freshman year, Derrick was outstanding. He averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals while making 48% of his shots from the floor. His command of the court, defensive prowess, and leadership were key in leading the Tigers to a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Derrick’s draft stock soared throughout the tournament as Memphis advanced all the way to the finals, helped in large part by Derrick’s phenomenal play. The championship game however was a heartbreaker for Derrick and the Tigers as they lost to the University of Kansas in overtime.
Soon after the championship game, Derrick announced his intentions to declare for the NBA Draft. The risk he took by declaring for the NBA Draft after only his freshmen season at Memphis paid off when he was selected #1 by the Chicago Bulls, his hometown team. Derrick is the first point guard to be chosen #1 overall in 12 years since Allen Iverson was picked in 1996.
Despite facing the pressure of living up to the expectations of a #1 draft pick playing for his hometown team, Derrick flourished in his first year in the NBA. He immediately took hold of the starting point guard position for the Bulls, averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds while hitting 47.5% of his shots. His leadership helped lead the Bulls to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, where he helped extend Chicago to a seven-game series against the defending champion Boston Celtics. In his first playoff game, he led the Bulls to a 105-103 overtime win by scoring 36 points, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most of any NBA player in their playoff debut. In game six, his block on Rajon Rondo in the final seconds of the third overtime helped force a seventh game for the series. Throughout the playoffs, Rose averaged 19.7 points, 6.4 assists and 6.3 rebounds. For his outstanding season, Derrick was named the NBA’s rookie of the year, joining Michael Jordan and Elton Brand as the only Bulls to win the award.
In the 2009-2010 season, Derrick led the Chicago Bulls to their fifth playoff appearance in six years. Unfortunately, Chicago fell in the first round to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it was a good season nonetheless, for both the Bulls and Derrick. That season, Derrick was elected to his first NBA All-Star game. Derrick became the first Bull to be honored with an All-Star appearance since Michael Jordan in 1998. Derrick played in 78 regular season games and tallied 6.0 APG and 20.8 PPG (solidifying his place as one of the top 15 scorers in the league), and 26.8 PPG in the playoffs. The 2009-2010 season saw Rose and the Bulls continue to grow, which set the stage for an incredibly successful 2010-2011 campaign.
The 2010-2011 season was a historic one for both Derrick and the Bulls. Chicago finished the regular season with the best record in all of the NBA at 62 wins and 20 losses. During the season Derrick started for the Easter Conference All-Stars and managed a career high in ever major statistical category. Derrick played in 81 games averaging 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 25 points per game (7th player in NBA history to average at least 25 points per game). This production, along with Derrick’s leadership on the court led to him becoming the league’s youngest MVP in history. Rose acquired 113 first-place MVP votes from a panel of 120. Derrick became the 5th player in NBA history to post 2,000 points in a season and was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 10 in scoring and assists. Derrick led the Bulls all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Miami Heat in 5 games despite Derrick averaging over 27 points per game in the series.
Derrick began the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season by signing a 5-year extension with his hometown Chicago Bulls. Despite battling injuries, Derrick was named an All-Star starter and led the Bulls to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. In the opening game of the playoffs the Bulls were en route to a victory over the 76ers when Derrick landed awkwardly, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, ending his season. The Bulls were defeated in 6 games, and Derrick received surgery on his knee in May.
Derrick has dedicated himself to rehab and has vowed to return to the court, stronger than ever.