Tie game. 18.1 seconds left. Raucous crowd. 15,389 people, 30,778 eyes transfixed on one player. Countless more watching at home. Bright lights. Inbound, hold, 5… 4… 3… crossover dribble… 2… fade-away… 1… SPLASH! BULLS WIN! The Bulls’ Rose has won it!
Crowd goes bananas. The bench mob turns into a mid-court mob.
Derrick Rose hit the game-winner in a heart-pounding 106-104 victory over Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks, the team’s 8th straight, Wednesday.
“It was like a movie,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said. “Hit the shot, no time left on the clock, you hear the horn, the ball goes through the net. It must be an unbelievable feeling to hit a shot like that.”
Chicago Bulls fans have seen this flick before, especially in the 1990s, but like a fine piece of art, with age comes a finer appreciation. Particularly after you’ve lived through the Dalibor Bagaric, Ron Mercer era.
“It was like a kid, all the things that you dream about,” Rose explained when asked about the GW in post game interviews.
Rose’s astonishing skills and abilities have drawn some to compare him to Michael Jordan.
Taking over when it matters, rising to the moment, clutch plays, unparalleled talent and drive. All of it is enough to require the occasional blink, quick head shake to remember which Bulls star you’re actually watching.
In fairness, Rose has distanced himself from any comparison to “His Airness.”
“I try not to think about it,” the reigning MVP said in early January. “I think if you start getting caught up into it, that’s when things start going wrong. I know that we’re two different type of players where he’s a Hall of Famer. His resume speaks for itself. It’s only my fourth year in the league. We can’t even compare to each other. He won championships, I didn’t even make it to the Finals. It’s no comparison at all. That’s somebody I look up to as a player. I think [he's] the greatest player. And that’s how I try to think of things.”
After all, who could ever be compared to the player who masterfully captured the hearts and imagination of millions? Every kid growing up in the ’90s wanted to be just like Jordan, D-Rose included. Lyrics in a catchy number created in a Gatorade advertising campaign were the reality.
Sometimes I dream
That he is me
If I could be like Mike
The talent, the will to win, the charisma, the fierce competitive nature, the good looks, a movie with Bugs Bunny. Come on man! MJ had it all, and meant everything to his city, and to a younger David Stern’s NBA as a growing business. He’s the greatest to ever play and won’t soon be forgotten. Everyone wanted to be the next Mike, but deep down we all knew it could never happen.
All of us but 1.
Photo via Wikimedia