Serious injuries can scar basketball players in so many ways.
There's the physical pain of the initial trauma. There's the enduring struggle of rehabilation. There's the broken innocence and lost invincibility when your betrays you. There's the agony of watching from the sidelines, feeling as if you've let your teammates down. There's the gnawing uncertainty of whether the long recovery will go as planned. And there's the cruel sensation of being a bystander to history, a helpless observer as your fierce competitors reach new heights in your absence.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is going through all of that and more after tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs. In the second episode of the adidas basketball video series chronicling his return (the first episode is here), Rose opens up about the pain involve in watching his main Eastern Conference rivals, the Miami Heat, win the 2012 NBA Finals after his Bulls were eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers.
"The whole time the playoffs was going on I only watched a couple of games from every series, but I wasn't into it like I was if I was playing," Rose says, as footage of the Heat's title run flashes on a television screen in front of him. "I know that's going to push me to work even harder … thinking of them winning the championship. It's just going to drive me and I know I'm gonna have another year."
Rose, 23, will have many more years. Given his youth, he avoids the most calamatious pain a serious injury can bring older athletes: the harsh reality that one's career is over.
Still, this is clearly a moment of reflection, a long pause in the middle of a whirlwind decade that saw him rise from teenage, to highly-ranked high schooler, to big time freshman leading Memphis to the NCAA title game, to No. 1 overall pick, to the NBA's 2009 Rookie of the Year, to the NBA's 2011 MVP, and to a tough 2011 Eastern Conference finals loss to the Heat.
In this second episode, Rose commits to his rehabilitation and thinks back on the role basketball has played in shaping his life.
"Basketball was always my place to escape," he says. "It was peaceful when I was out there... Basketball changed everybody's lives that was around me. We was able to see the whole world, be with each other, that's one of the reason why we [are] so close because we've been hooping with each other since we was in sixth grade. So you have like a brotherhood."
This episode is titled "Hope," but what unfolds on screen is really healing, as Rose is fighting as many mental battles here as physical ones. He concludes by declaring his confidence back, indirectly guaranteeing that he will win a title.
"[It's] a real blessing to see that this injury can't stop me," Rose says. "I can't wait 'til I win one. I will never stop."