Reggie Rose Rumors
That’s the admission everyone has been digging for, but that’s not what he means: The new Derrick Rose is explosive and aggressive, but he’s coming back like Eve came back from the apple, mining intellectual and emotional depths he couldn’t have imagined when he first hurt his knee. He’s different now, for sure, maybe for better, maybe for worse. The old Derrick Rose is a casualty of the two injuries and the knowledge that came with them. “He’s gone,” Reggie says, and he sounds a little melancholy.
“You know what?” Reggie says, turning thoughtful, surrounded by reminders of his past. He thinks about Derrick, and how three years ago, his then-22-year-old brother was innocent and unafraid, the most valuable player in the NBA. “He knows that he will never get back to that,” Reggie says.
“His thing is wanting to be the same,” Rose’s brother, Reggie, says. Reggie finishes lunch and drives away, eventually making his way east on West 63rd Street. Thirteen years older, his domineering presence kept Derrick from being picked apart by the Gangster Disciples who controlled their neighborhood, then the parasitic runners and gatekeeping NCAA officials who controlled the avenues and mechanisms of escape. Nothing, not drug dealers or money-hungry basketball pimps or amateurism-guarding schoolmarms, would keep his brother stuck in Englewood. Traffic is thin as he crosses Halsted Street, with Kennedy-King College looking modern and alien at the intersection. Everything else is plywood and blight.
The two most obvious faces in the Rose Camp are his brother/manager, Reggie, and his agent, B.J. Armstrong. Reggie obviously did little to help his brother’s cause on Feb. 21, 2013, blasting the organization on the night of the trade deadline for its lack of movement. Never mind that Derrick Rose was still nursing a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, despite team doctors clearing him to return. It wasn’t the last time the organization would have problems with Reggie expressing his opinion. Then there’s Armstrong. The former Bulls guard and title winner worked for the organization under former general manager Jerry Krause. But when vice president of basketball operations John Paxson came in, Armstrong was demoted from his assistant GM post into a scouting position. Armstrong was completely out by 2005, reportedly unhappy with Paxson and the Bulls. The fact that Armstrong, who works for the Wasserman Media Group in Los Angeles, became Rose’s agent was an obvious concern for the Bulls.
Reggie Rose, who is here watching his AAU team and catching the conclusion of the NBA Summer League, said the criticism his younger brother received for missing the season didn’t surprise anybody in Rose’s camp. “I knew he was going to get that backlash,” Reggie Rose said. “You got Chicago Bull fans who are going to cheer the team no matter what. Then you have Derrick Rose fans who only want to come to the game when Derrick plays. You’ll get the backlash, but I feel once he gets back on the court, all that stuff will stop and they’ll be cheering for him.”
The photos and video clips from Derrick Rose’s shoe promotional tour of Europe showed the light-hearted moments. The reality, according to Rose’s older brother and manager Reggie, involved a bit more perspiration. “He was getting up at 6:30 every morning and working out with (Bulls’ assistant strength and conditioning coach) Nick Papendieck,” Reggie Rose said Monday. “He has a positive attitude. He’s ready to go. Looking at his body, he’s really strong. The only thing he has to work on is cardio and getting in game shape. But that will come. I have no concerns about him physically.”
Asked about the perception that his inner circle of older brother Reggie Rose and agent B.J. Armstrong has influenced his decision, Rose acted incredulously. “Who said that? If anything, it’s up to me,” Rose said. “My brother and them can’t tell me what to do with my body. They give me control. I’m in control of the whole process. It’s really all on me.” Asked what the benefit of sitting the entire season is, Rose said: “Being healthy. Health-wise, if I do take the whole year off and don’t play anymore, I know I’m going to come back a better player. I guess my body will be healed more but who knows?
Reggie told me Derrick’s friends call him “The General” because “when I come around I am always nagging and fussing.” Reggie said he simply wants Derrick to take care of his body and watch what he eats. “You can’t put 80-cent gasoline in a Ferrari,” Reggie preaches. “I think sometimes … he’s young, he can do that. But now I think he is going to eat right and listen a little bit more and just come back bigger, faster, stronger.”
“When (Derrick) jumped and fell down, I could see him pressing his knee like he was trying to push something back in,” Reggie told me then. “I was with my friend and I looked at him. He said: ‘What? He twisted his ankle?’ I said: ‘Naw, I think he tore his ACL.’ As soon as he did it, I kind of figured that was what it was. Just looking and knowing what happened to me … I tore mine in ’94. “Now, today with the medical stuff they have now, I think he has better physicians, better equipment and everything so he can come back strong.”