On this day in NBA (Oct 31, 2018): Derrick Rose scores 50 points against Utah Jazz - How this performance kickstarted the former MVP's rejuvenation

How this performance kickstarted the former MVP
How this performance kickstarted the former MVP's rejuvenation
The emotion was real; the perserverance is true.
The emotion was real; the perserverance is true.

Derrick Rose, the youngest MVP in NBA history, is a beloved NBA fixture. NBA fans have watched him become a superstar with the Chicago Bulls, a journeyman just playing out the string with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the resurgence currently galvanized in the Mecca, Madison Square Garden with the New York Knicks. The injuries were something fans didn't want to see, and for a few years, that's all the fans saw of Derrick Rose, who became a superstar of lost potential after being known as one of the most athletic point guards to ever play in the NBA. There was one magical moment that gave NBA fans hope that Derrick Rose is still relevant and that day was today, Halloween, in 2018.

Derrick Rose the superstar

Derrick Rose's rookie year, I was covering the game from the Philadelphia 76ers press box when Rose made one of the most spectacular plays I've seen. He dropped 76ers stalwart, Andre Miller, with a sick cross over and even though Samuel Dalembert goaltended the shot, the crowd reaction was of awe. It was a play after blocking Andre Miller on the break where Miller thought he had an open layup. My son Gaston, seated almost directly right behind the press row, had his hand over his mouth after the play, similar to most in attendance. He was but a young teen with an athletic mind himself, and getting to talk to Derrick Rose after the game was a big inspiration after what went down on the floor.

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Yeah, the inspiration

Derrick Rose is a player to root for. The injuries appeared to sap him of all he had left. Yet the former phenom from Simeon High School in Chicago - who told me he didn't watch anything but Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen growing up - fought, scratched, cried and worked his butt off just to get another shot. That shot was given to him by his former Chicago Bulls coach, Tom Thibodeau, then coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. There was a resurgence before his best moment since winning NBA MVP, and Derrick Rose, was back and averaging 14 points per game in Minnesota. Player reactions everywhere were supportive of Derrick Rose, and that was before he went off.

Derrick Rose scores 50 points vs. Utah on Halloween

As I wrote that subheading, I got chills. It's emotional writing about players who were so good, fell off, and somehow returned to the graceful athletic exploits they are now ready to accept and continue on a more focused team level. When Derrick Rose scored 50 points - still a career high -- the sports world stopped what they were doing and clapped. They clapped loud and long as the former Chicago Bulls superstar validated his career with a single moment of joy. His teammates were so happy for him, and NBA luminaries congratulated Derrick Rose across social media. That special night vs. the Utah Jazz, Derrick Rose shot 19-31, grabbed six boards and dropped four dimes. He was the biggest down the stretch, scored big bucket after big bucket and made a game saving block to defeat the Jazz 128-125, and fans of sports in general rejoiced. It was a special moment because it was so unexpected, and for one night Minnesota Timberwolves fans got a glimpse of what the city of Chicago knew for so long.

Resurgence

The Minnesota Timberwolves were Derrick Rose's fourth team in three seasons. How Derrick Rose was able to muster the fight and perseverance is something he'll be known for long after he retires. The tears of validation post his 50 burger, are what many fans remember most about his performance, and the visuals of all his teammates behind him in support during his post-game interview give me emotion in this second. There are so many wonderful athletes who never get the shot to get the personal revenge they need to show fans they've worked so hard to get it all back, and that Derrick Rose did so in story book fashion of landing on the pretty number of 50 speaks to what he has given the NBA and sports in general. I asked my son to give me a quote since his favorite player gave him and Derrick Rose fans such a great moment to remember that incredible night:

"The resurgence of Derrick Rose felt like the rising of the morning sun. Refreshing and familiar as it brought light to the possibility of his career picking up where it left off."

Spoken like a true Tillery as poetic as straight to the point that's for sure...

Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose reunited

This being Derrick Rose's second stop in New York and the two are reunited, Tom Thibodeau has leaned on Rose. Rose knows what to expect of himself and New York Knicks fans. Hard-working players and the hard-working coaches they are, Thibs and Rose are joined at the hip and fused by a love of the game. That love of the game and resilience is what Tom Thibodeau used as a muse for a New York Knicks team looking special early in 2021-22. Derrick Rose will be a catalyst this season to depend on - whether hitting the big threes or an unexpected scoring outburst - and that dependence is grounded in a deeply rooted journey of pain and frustration, yet that pain and frustration is not one of underachievement. To say Derrick Rose has underachieved would be to dismiss his current hardline process of competing and completing a masterful story of soul searching, sweat, tears, fear and now, nothing but joy and success. Thibs speaks on the advantageous connection between him and Derrick Rose:

"If you look at any times in his career where Derrick Rose has been healthy, he's been one of the best players in the league. I have a comfort level with him, and he has a comfort level with me."
"But Derrick it's a great story, because a lot of guys thought he would walk away. To sit out one season with an injury is difficult. To have to go through that 3 consecutive years and then to still have the wherewithall to get to the other side, and push through and be the player that he is today. He's been phenomenal for us."
"He's probably doing it more now with his knowledge of the game and how to manage his body. Early on in his career, like most young guys they're doing it more on athleticism and their talent, but he's got the whole package going now. You put Derrick Rose in a big game, good things are going to happen."

The ghoulish personality of today, Halloween, may serve as a holiday to many, yet for Derrick Rose and his finely tuned mind, the spirit of Halloween's past gives him the Christmas eyes of a New York Knicks future and NBA playoffs beyond.

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Also Read: What is Derrick Rose's Net Worth in 2021?

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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