Derrick Rose is a breath of fresh air. In a world of sports in which athletes continue to stray more towards the selfish attitude of putting themselves before the team, having a kid as young as Rose act as if he's completely unaware of how good he is presents a nice change of pace. Especially when you compare him to recent Bulls lottery picks like Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas who have had their fair share of run ins with authority despite never earning the privilege.
When you hear Rose talk, the first thing that strikes you is his humility. It may be manufactured as part of his image, but the consistency in the way he presents himself leads you to believe that he's being sincere. Though it's hard to really believe that when you hear him say things like this when finding out he's been chosen to participate in the NBA's Rookie Challenge during the All-Star break in Phoenix.
"I never thought I'd be playing in it because I thought I'd have a learning year," Rose said. "You think about the [regular-season] games and the job you have, not All-Star activities. But for me to be in it, I can't wait.
"And we're going to try to win. I know a lot of players in my class are real competitive. For us to be around each other should be fun."
When he says he never thought he'd have a chance to play in a game featuring nothing but rookies, even after being the first player taken in the NBA draft last summer, part of you thinks he's insulting your intelligence, but he actually means it. Which is also enough to make you wonder if Derrick is a bit too humble.
Although he's only been on the Bulls for half a season, he's already the best player on the team and any changes made to the roster in the coming years will be designed to build a team around him. Which means that at some point he's going to have to take charge of the team, and not just be a leader by example. If Derrick really doesn't believe he's as good as he is, will he ever be capable of making demands from his teammates?
Granted, if Rose conquering his humility is the biggest challenge the Bulls face in the coming years, then we should all be so lucky. Hopefully as he grows older and continues to get better even he'll start realizing how good he is and develop more of an ego. Not a Blagojevich-style ego or anything, but enough to let him know that he's the man and he's the key to this organization's future success.