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"I want to be that hope for kids, no matter what they do," the MVP said during the re-dedication of the maligned playground where he learned to ball.
Long before Derrick Rose became the youngest MVP in NBA history, he honed his childhood hoops skills on the playground at Murray Park.
But the playground at the park -- which is known by some as "Murder Park" because of the violence in the surrounding Englewood neighborhood -- fell into a state of disrepair, severely limiting the possibility for another Rose to emerge from the court.
That all changed when the playground, with a major facelift, was unveiled on Tuesday. Thanks to Rose's sponsors, the court now sports new hoops and a brand new playing surface.
"I have a lot of memories up here. This is where I used to spend the majority of my time, just hooping, just playing basketball, just enjoying myself," Rose said at the unveiling, his appearance a welcome surprise for dozens of students from Randolph Elementary, Rose's Alma mater.
Along with the new basketball court, the MVP brought a message of positivity for the younger generation.
"No matter what they do, they've got to take things seriously and dedicate themselves to whatever they want to do when they get older," he said. "When you look at me, you probably don't see yourselves making it this far... but I'm here to tell you, you can make it."
The students' main question: "how?"
Rose answered by saying he achieved success through hard work. He recounted how his college coach had to deactivate Rose's access card to the gym because he was over-working and his knees were starting to hurt.
Another student asked what made Rose want to become an NBA star.
"Of course I wanted to become an NBA player because they pay you. And of course I was broke at the time," he said.
Rose went on to tell the students his role models are his mother, Michael Jordan, and Will Smith because of the actor's work ethic.