“What!” you may well snort, “You feel sorry for a guy with his money, his talent, his apparent future? How about sparing a little sympathy for the truly needy, huh?”
OK fine, I see your point. But I’m not talking about those other folks right now. I’m just talking about Mr. Rose of the Chicago Bulls. And speaking of his apparent future, there is a set of scenarios I foresee, and they explain why I feel sorry for the man.
It has to do with his inescapable link, as a Bull, to Michael Jordan. I’m already hearing it. “Yeah, he’s good,” one Bulls fan told me recently, “but he’s no Michael.”
There’s the first clue – that so common a name as “Michael” is in regular use hereabouts with no surname attached, and everybody knows who you mean.
The logic is airtight. Rose is indeed no Michael. And Barry Bonds was no Babe Ruth. And Wayne Gretzky was no Gordie Howe. All unassailable statements. But it’s going to be worse for Derrick Rose.
Say the Bulls DON’T win the NBA title this year. Many a Bulls fan will mutter, “There you go – he’s no Michael.” Say the Bulls DO win the title this year: “Call me when you’re wearing SIX rings, Derrick!”
Then say Derrick Rose does in fact lead the Bulls to six – no wait – SEVEN championships. Heck, let’s say they win it seven years in a row. We will then have several potential responses, all of which will be voiced by someone or other. One person will say, “Well they broke up the team… Michael retired a champion. He was still at the top of his game and would’ve won several more.” Another will say, “Derrick never had to beat Magic or Bird. Michael did, year after year.” And another will say, “Michael did it without the supporting cast Rose had.” And so on.
The most impressive thing about it all, to me, is that these folks have been granted a vision of the future… They see very clearly that there will never be a player better than Michael Jordan. Understand, I’m not here to bash Mr. Jordan. This isn’t about him. I’m simply here to present my own vision of the future. I wish Derrick Rose all the best, but I hope he realizes that even if he becomes the best basketball player the world has ever seen… he’s no Michael.