Derrick Rose’s emotional moment during last week's unveiling of his new signature products only furthered the notion that he is very atypical of most professional athletes.
Since coming to the Bulls as the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Rose has been keenly aware of just how fortunate he is – especially considering his Englewood roots.
“We’re not supposed to be here – at all,” Rose said last Thursday, fighting back tears and seeming to reflect on a life growing up in what arguably is the most dangerous section of the city.
It was those tears that caused much speculation and theory around the Internet about what actually caused the 23-year-old superstar to break down during what was supposed to be a celebration.
“Derrick is sometimes in disbelief at all of this,” Derrick’s older brother, Reggie, told NBC Chicago.
While the outside world might view Rose as a superstar athlete with millions of fans and millions more in the bank, Reggie Rose said that in his mind, he’s still just a regular kid from Englewood, a place where everyone’s socioeconomic status is the same, and gangs, drugs and violence are a daily reality.
Rose’s family identified his talent early and protected him from the dangers of a neighborhood where it’s so easy for kids to go astray. But he stayed focused and his success has transformed him into a symbol of hope in his old neighborhood.
“It’s like in life: You can say that you want to be the Major League Baseball player, this football or basketball player – you might say that – but you don’t know what it takes to get there,” said Reggie.
“That’s why we were always constantly pushing him. We would never let up on him because we saw something special in him. The best thing he did was listen. So for him to see his dream come true now, that means a lot to him."