CHICAGO – Two summers ago, Derrick Rose walked on to the stage at his MVP ceremony and thanked his family for helping him to achieve his dream.
Rose thanked his mother, Brenda, for working so hard to support the family.
He thanked his three older brothers – Reggie, Allan and Dwayne – who he said “formed a wall” to protect him from the violence and negative influences in his Englewood neighborhood.
“It’s tough growing up where I grew up,” Rose said on a day that included more than a couple of tears. “I made sure that I stayed on the right path because of my family. If anything, I didn’t want to get in trouble by my brothers or my mom.”
Being a follower helped Rose avoid trouble in his house and on the streets.
Being a leader helped Rose become the NBA’s youngest-ever MVP and a global superstar.
It’s time for Rose to treat his oldest brother, Reggie, in much the same way as he treats his teammates. That is to say respectfully, but in a way that commands respect in return.
An injured knee is bad enough. Rose didn’t need to add a media headache to his problems.
Yet that’s what happened Thursday when his older brother decided to make headlines.
After the Bulls made no deals to improve the team before the trade deadline, Reggie Rose vented to ESPNChicago.com. He came across as an angry caller to a sports radio talk show.
“What have you pieced together? Have you made any moves? Have you made any trades to get better? You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami,” Reggie Rose said to the website. “What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs?
“Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece. The players can only do so much. It’s up to the organization to make them better.”
Forget the fact that Reggie Rose has zero points and zero rebounds in zero NBA games. Forget that few would care about his basketball opinions if not for his younger brother.
Exactly what trade would Reggie Rose have made if he led the Bulls?
By all accounts, it was a sleepy trade-deadline day in which a few decent players changed teams. J.J. Redick went from Orlando to Milwaukee. Jordan Crawford went from Washington to Boston. Ronnie Brewer went from New York to Oklahoma City. And so on.
It’s not as if the Bulls stood still while other teams raced past them with great deals.
But Reggie Rose is angry, and that’s a problem for the Bulls. Because Reggie has served as his brother’s adviser forever, and Derrick largely has done what he has been told to do.
If Reggie is fed up with the Bulls, does that mean the same holds true for Derrick?
I don’t think so. But it looks bad.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau tried to downplay the comments before his team faced the Heat.
“To me, it’s not a big deal,” Thibodeau said. “We all want the same things. We want Derrick’s health. Obviously, we’re trying to pursue winning a championship, so we share that in common.”
As for comments about his roster, Thibodeau wasn’t about to start a war of words with Reggie.
“That’s his opinion,” Thibodeau said. “He speaks for himself. It’s not a big deal.”
About an hour later, Derrick Rose released a statement via the Bulls’ public relations staff.
“I have always felt that the Bulls organization’s goals have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city,” Rose said.
Hopefully, that’s the end of the public drama.
Privately, Derrick should tell Reggie to zip it.
All of this reminded me of a story by one of my favorite humorists and writers, David Sedaris. He is the youngest of six children, and he writes frequently about his family.
“As children, we’d been assigned certain roles – leader, bum, troublemaker, [floozy],” Sedaris once wrote. “Titles that effectively told us who we were.”
As years passed, Sedaris and his siblings moved on. They established their own lives.
But whenever they gathered as a family, everyone would revert to their old roles.
“I might reinvent myself to strangers,” Sedaris wrote. “But to this day, as far as my family is concerned, I’m still the one most likely to set your house on fire.”
In his family, Rose always has been the quiet one. The follower. The one to protect.
But he’s a grown man now. He’s a father. He’s one of the best in the world at his profession. He doesn’t need his older brother to meddle with his employer.
We all know that to be true.
It’s time for Reggie Rose to realize it, too.
• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @tcmusick.