He’s alive! Derrick Rose has broken his long silence, giving an exclusive interview with USA Today (WTF?! Maybe he just loves pie charts?), covering everything from a poor understanding of percentages to fatherhood to Boyz n the Hood (I wish!). Most important of all was that Rose dropped the line, “I’m not coming back until I’m 110%.” While that may be an impossibility (cut the man some slack, it is not as if he actually attended classes at Memphis), he basically confirmed what we all were thinking and hoping: He is not rushing back (Thibs shakes his head in disgust.). Then he got all sly, adding, “Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year,” …and with that line, the sound of thousands of Bulls fans collectively fainting could be heard to the trained ear. (We are a dramatic bunch.)
Personally, I put little stock into the “next year” quip. As many fans and cynics have already pointed out, it is a hell of a coincidence that Rose is coming out of his yurt to give an interview now – right before the All-Star break – the vague time period in which his #thereturn has always been projected. This builds some hype, gives something bored writers to scribble about, and, yes, probably helps sell some sneakers. The many more cynical have queried about the possibility that this was all orchestrated by adidas in a masterful stroke of marketing – which seems completely plausible. What is a bit of a noodle bender is that this theory seems to blacken the image of the great, humble Rose in some fans’ minds. I think that it was very likely from the early stages of recovery that there was a very clear marketing plan agreed upon and put into motion between the Rose-adidas contingent. My guess is that it went something like this: adidas will respect Rose’s low-key life style and let him rehab in peace, in exchange for a multi-episode commercial (#thereturn) and tell-all interview with a publication of adidas’ choice (turns out, they are the ones with the pie chart fetish!). It hardly seems like something that is overly contrived (i.e. The Decision – as I have seen it compared to on the Twitter), and just a neat little piece of business – the type of business that naturally comes into play when adidas came up to your door with a dump truck full of money for you to put pen to paper.
If anything, I think that this interview is a bright spot during a low point of the Bulls current season. I hardly think that the marketing and PR squad behind the Derrick Rose brand is going to have him give an exclusive interview right before the All-Star break, if he was not gearing up to make his gloriously #thereturn in the near future. Huzzah! Meanwhile, the Tribune’s KC Johnson just tweeted Noah saying he is playing tonight (instead of resting his ailing foot), adding, “I wouldn’t miss this [a game against the Celtics in effin’ February] for anything!” Sigh. Not everyone is on board with the 110% theory.