Derrick Rose: From Murray Park to the Eastern Conference Finals

Basketball allowed Derrick Rose to get out of Englewood. But it also kept him, and his family, safe. According to Rose, he was actually safer in Englewood than he would have been elsewhere, because of the game.

Derrick Rose press conference

 

In case you missed it, Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times wrote an excellent piece this Sunday about Derrick Rose and his old neighborhood of Englewood (h/t Mike Lansu). It’s not the first piece to be written on Rose and his childhood; Noah Isackson profiled Rose in 2008 for Chicago, and Melissa Isaacson did so for the Tribune in 2010. But Jensen captured some remarkable details, and it makes a good addition to the growing literature on the MVP.

One of the things that comes up in Jensen’s piece is the both moving and tragic reality that a game was Rose’s way out of Englewood. But one of the things I find most interesting in Rose’s story was how the game was also a way of surviving in Englewood…

A member of the Gangster Disciples, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said local gangs earmarked Murray Park a safe zone because of Rose. [Jensen]

…but that it also wouldn’t let him leave:

During the eighth grade, when it was time for Rose to choose where he wanted to go to high school, the neighborhood’s protective code played a huge part in his decision to enroll at Simeon, about two miles from his home. “I had heard too many stories about people who go too far out of their neighborhood, where people try to test you,” Rose said. “Simeon was in my neighborhood, and I had friends there, so I felt pretty safe.” [Isackson]


Speaking of the Bulls, the best summary of why they destroyed the Heat in the first game comes from Michael Miner.

 

Photograph: Chicago Tribune

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