Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has taken his share of heat for not returning this season after being medically cleared to do so by the team. While he’s seen his share of detractors, there have also been a few people – including teammate Joakim Noah – to step up and support Rose. You can add another to the list of supporters, as Rose’s former coach John Calipari took to the airwaves to back up his former star player at Memphis.
Calipari – who’s now the coach of Kentucky – was on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland recently when he was asked about Rose and his 2012-13 season. Here’s what he had to say.
“An NBA player’s body, if he does anything to hurt his own body he’s wrecking his own career. You let them listen to their bodies.
“The second thing is, I’ve talked to Chicago Bulls management, I know all those guys… and you know what? They’re fine. They didn’t want him to go back. As a matter of fact, they wanted to announce he wasn’t coming back, but Derrick didn’t want to do it because he thought if there is any chance for me to come back…
“But let me ask you this: At the end of the day after they got going, and they were going to play Miami in the second (round), what good would it have done other than he could have got hurt? Tell me what good it could have done?
“So all this stuff, is all fine, all I can tell you is he’s a great kid, the Bulls supported him. I support him because I’m not gonna (say), ‘Yea, head out there, why doesn’t he come back this is crazy the doctor cleared him, okay now he got hurt.’ How do you feel now?…
“Knowing him the way he is, knowing he is a great kid and somebody who probably in the worst way wanted to play, but just was so tentative he wasn’t right. He didn’t trust it yet and you gotta respect that.”
It’s hard to argue that if this were handled differently it wouldn’t have been nearly as big of a deal. But throughout the Bulls’ impressive playoff run, Rose’s potential return hung over the team and its fans. It will be nice when we can once again talk about Rose’s on-court performance next season.