Tonight’s matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers has me extra juiced for me than one reason. Yes, two of the best from each conference are matching up with each other, each with someone to prove: the Bulls need a measuring stick to see exactly where they are, minus Carlos Boozer, and the Lakers have played just three quality opponents all year, losing to a few of them. Not only that, but I’m interested to see what Derrick Rose does against a team as long and as athletic as the Lakers. His growth throughout the past year as a player and leader has been startling. Tonight will be his toughest test yet this season.
In honor of this, I decided to dig through the crates and find what I feel is the best piece I’ve read on Rose, his family and his roots. For those of you who are Dime fans, you may remember it was published in the 50th issue of the magazine (August, 2009). Written by Dime’s Austin Burton, the story takes the reader on a journey back to Murray Park, back to the South Side of Chicago.
This will be the first post in what will amount to an ongoing series of fantastic past work done by writers, authors, photographers, etc. Sometimes, I might post some of my own work. But usually, it’ll come from other sources. There is no timetable, no set periods for when I will do this. It’s more or less just because I enjoy reading great stuff…
This is full circle.
Early Monday morning in the Englewood section of the South Side of Chicago, and Murray Park is alive. There’s the dude who just got out a week ago, Obama tattoo on his right bicep and cell-block muscles on every other visible inch of him. There’s the busty chick with two different hairstyles on her head and a pair of Nefertiti-like eyes tatted on her breasts. There’s the tall dude with four gold chains and waves that would put any R&B singer to shame. A couple of older female cops mill around, but they don’t seem too worried about anyone here. Little boys wearing basketball shorts and wide-eyed stares come through. And lots of teenage girls, armed with camera phones, trying to get a snapshot of the young man who isn’t much older than them, the man everybody is here to see: Derrick Rose.
The 20-year-old star of the Chicago Bulls is the prince of these streets. Born and raised a couple of blocks away from the park over on 75th Street, this is the court where Derrick threw up his first jumper and honed the crossover that would later drop NBA point guards on their asses. This grass field is where he began his comically brief baseball career, hurling fastballs and robbing base hits. This sidewalk on the West side of the fence is where he used to race his friends, sprinting up and down the block, sometimes with no shoes on, showing off the speed that would later carry him past Chris Paul and Deron Williams on the game’s most hallowed courts. In the summer of 2008, more than 200 people gathered at the park to barbeque, play ball, and listen to the radio as the Bulls chose Derrick with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
“Whoever got a warrant, get out of the picture!” yells Derrick’s older brother, Reggie Rose. He’s joking. But not really.
Word spreads quickly that “Pooh” is back in the ’hood, starring in his first solo magazine cover shoot as a pro. Although it’s well before noon on a workday, this impromptu block party is about 60 strong. Maybe an hour ago, it was more like seven. …
Read the full story here.