In 2012, Derrick Rose was on top of the world.
After growing up in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, Rose achieved an improbable childhood dream: being selected first overall in the NBA draft by his hometown Chicago Bulls. The point guard known to his family as “Pooh” was a phenom, winning the Rookie of the Year award and electrifying fans around the world. In 2011, he became the youngest MVP in league history. He and the Bulls believed the city’s first berth in the NBA Finals since the Jordan era was on the horizon. Rarely had a bond between a player and fans been so strong, as the city wrapped its arms around the homegrown hero.
Six years and four knee surgeries later, he was waived by the Utah Jazz, a once surefire Hall of Fame career seemingly on the brink of collapse. Many speculated his days in the NBA were over.
But Derrick Rose never doubted himself, never believed his struggles on and off the court were anything other than temporary setbacks. Rather than telling the world he had more to give, he decided to show them.
I’ll Show You is an honest, intimate conversation with one of the world’s most popular athletes, a star whose on-court brilliance is matched only by his aversion to the spotlight. Written with New York Times bestselling author Sam Smith, Rose opens himself up to fans in a way they’ve never seen before, creating a document that is as unflinching—and at times as uncomfortable—as a personal diary.
Detailing his childhood spent in one of his city’s most dangerous neighborhoods; his relationships with both opponents and teammates; the pain and controversies surrounding his career-altering injuries; his complicated relationship to fame and fortune; and his rise, fall, and reemergence as the player LeBron James says is “still a superhero,” I’ll Show You is one of the most candid and surprising autobiographies of a modern-day superstar ever written.
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About the Author
Born and raised in Chicago, Derrick Rose was the first overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was the league’s Rookie of the Year, and in 2011 became the youngest MVP in NBA history at the age of 22. He has also played for the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Minnesota Timberwolves.Sam Smith is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Jordan Rules, Second Coming, There Is No Next, and Hard Labor. He received the Naismith Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2012 and today writes for Bulls.com. You can follow him at @SamSmithHoops.
Read an Excerpt
"I'll Show You" is the title I wanted for this book. Because it represents me, my story, who I am.
Let's see what you can do. Not what you tell me you're gonna do — what you can do.
It shows both sides of my personality. I'm an introvert. I didn't understand for a long time what that meant. There's nothing bad or wrong with that. But it can make people think different about you. They think you think you're all that, or something.
That's not me; never been me.
But it's also having to do interviews when you're so young and no one tells you what to do or it's not something you're good at. Then people think of you in different ways.
Did you ever think back to when you were 17 and 18? And then you're 19 and 20 and in the NBA with all these reporters asking you things all the time? Ever think about what you'd say and how you would do that if you were a quiet person?
"I'll Show You" means "I lead by example." And that's pretty much how I did everything in my life. Watch me — don't wait for me to tell you. I've never been one to talk about it. It's also one of the reasons I never talk in basketball — none of that trash talking. It never bothered me. I kind of feed into it, anyway. "Alright, that's where we are at now? Just watch this now. I'm going to score this next bucket and we'll see if you look at me the same way." You gotta feel it. When I'm on the floor I'm totally different. What do they say in Chicago? They call it "not going," where you're just not backing down. I don't have to talk crazy on the floor. I can show them.
From growing up, too. It's just how I carry myself. You never know for sure why you are the way you are. But growing up where I did and seeing what I saw, I think that's one reason I like to be quiet.
Drugs were a big thing where I grew up on Chicago's South Side, in Englewood. I'm sure you've all heard about it. It's in the news all the time and this current president makes fun of it. It was home, a home to a lot of good people who care and are trying to make a better life, and stuff like that's unfair to the people there. They're trying to survive like people everywhere; they just don't get the same chance like people in other places. When you get out, you see the racism you didn't understand as a kid. People there are like people anywhere else. They want the same things.
But that cycle of violence, it's a dangerous place to grow up. I had friends die, heard gunshots, was scared in my house seeing people drive up with bats and sticks and ready to fight. I ran upstairs in my house. One of the reasons why I'm quiet, I think, is because looking at the drug trade, those loud guys were all the ones who went down. All the ones who were flashy and wanted to be seen, something seemed to happen to them. I never wanted to be that person. It was too many people in my neighborhood, they talked so much shit and I realized they always were the dumbest ones. I'm dead serious.
I'm seeing that as a kid. I'm thinking to myself, "If I ever get out of this situation, if I ever get a grip or something, I'm never gonna walk around like that, because it's too much attention." I could be quiet and seem dumb and nobody will know about me. Then I may hit you with a fun fact and that may blow your mind that day. You just don't know what I know. That's the way I wanted to come across.
That's what blows my mind. It would become, "Why should I give you that other side of me when you're shitting on me?" I show people that real side when I'm feeling warm enough to show it to you. It's the respect and vice versa.
* * *
I got a lot of attention from basketball, sure. But that's the part I cared about the least — the accolades. I think I realized early on it takes you to the wrong places. "I'll Show You" is like a little bit of attitude — no matter what I am, I'm determined to get where I'm going.
I was always told about how gifted I was when it came to basketball. And it's true. My speed, it was different. I could get places on the court, control the game without scoring. I never played a game against any of my brothers, because even when I was young they knew I was better than them even though they were so much older. I heard people compare me with Jason Kidd. But J. Kidd is not that athletic. He's gonna master his craft and what he does because he's not that athletic. He's bigger, learned how to shoot, great court vision. He's gonna use what he's got. With me, I feel like I had another side. And not just raw talent.
The speed. It kills, right? You could throw out everything else, but I had the speed to split double-teams. Like, go at double-teams numerous times in a possession, on consecutive possessions where I'm testing your endurance, your bigs. "How many times are you gonna be able to cut me off in that corner?"
Kevin Garnett was the best on defense. Really making me think the game. So I'm happy I came into the league when I did because the league now is totally different. But I was able to experience kind of what the old league had; I feel blessed to have experienced that, the tough play.
I played different in AAU than I did in high school. That's why my brother Reggie wanted me to have my own AAU team. It became sort of who I was on the court, the other Derrick. I played small forward in high school. I didn't have the ball in my hands. I wasn't the leading scorer on my teams. I didn't start scoring until I got to the league. When I played AAU, I wore No. 1 for the first time. That was like my alter ego, where I get to play the way I want to play and save my team.
It was at Peach Jam, the big Nike tournament. There were teams with Yao Ming, Tony Parker, everybody on the same team. I think that kind of helped me with the Bulls playing with mediocre players — mediocre scoring players. They were good players, but with the scoring I knew I couldn't let the game slip so far.
I know the game has changed even since I came into the league. Shooting is everything now. You gotta be able to shoot. But I've always felt I could adapt, like playing the three in high school, point guard in AAU, scoring when I needed to in the league. And I think you've seen when I got with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, with the pressure on Jimmy Butler and then after Jimmy was traded to the 76ers, how my three-point shooting was getting better. People forget it was getting better before the ACL. Then I got caught up in doing so many things to get back.
But the summer after I got to Minnesota, I'm shooting thousands of shots. So I'm not thinking about it. It's like the speed — you don't think, you just show people. I'm in the game. So shoot it. They'd say my shot didn't have the right arc. But did Kobe Bryant's? And all this when I'm back playing the three even, playing shooting guard, playing point. But I'm loving it. Remember, I'm 30, 31 years old. Not that kid anymore.
Sure, I've had doubts, but I feel I've shown that I'm mentally tough. I showed that even with what happened in New York and Cleveland, with leaving. I'm paying for that, but it was me. But I've been making history every time I'm on the court, and people can relate because everyone has struggles.
My critics could say I quit, but I never gave up. There's always been the love of the game, for my sons, my daughter. So me having my kids has played a huge role in pushing through these four, five surgeries, understanding my career and where I was, and where I am and where I will be.
A max player again? An All-Star? Sixth Man of the Year? I'm cool with that, too. I always feel anything is possible. Let my game speak for itself and let me be there as the vet to help my younger teammates grow and mature.
They always talk about my jump shot and what it was and wasn't. I always said I'm a hooper, and hoopers can do anything, I feel. It don't matter. Like, Marcus Smart is a hooper. Analytics, you would say no way you want him. But when you go out there and watch the game, you say, "Of course I want him on my team." Makes big shots, period. That's a guy I love playing with. That's what I mean when I say I'm a hooper. It don't matter if I miss 24 shots. I feel that 25 shot to win the game is going in. I feel like I'll make the right play at the right time.
* * *
I don't worry about the injuries, haven't for a long time. People asked me about dunking in the playoffs when I came to Minnesota. I hadn't for a long time. It was just the fact of me being stubborn. I kept hearing people talk about dunking. "Dunk, dunk, dunk, dunk." Like, what? I know I'm way more than just a dunker. "You think that's basketball, huh?"
There's levels, and fans and media are just different. They're not always watching the whole game. They get bits and pieces on Snapchat and that can be their game. It's okay. But that's their takeaway from the game.
It's funny that I have this flashy game, you know? I heard someone say once it's a contradiction, that it's not my personality. I'm chill with my friends and family, but then on the basketball court, people see the game and it's the oohs and aahs. That's just my game, but that's also Chicago. Show them something. "Okay, I'll show you."
I know it might sound different, but I really believe my greatest gift is listening to people. I'm more observant — don't usually like being in the middle of things. You usually find that the loudest ones in the room are normally the dumbest, the most irritating ones. Nothing wrong with being an introvert. I didn't realize that until I got older. I used to be in social atmospheres and feel tired. Or I'd leave. I'd think, "Was it the workout or something?"
I didn't understand I was an introvert until I was 25 or 26. That's when I realized I need time to recharge my batteries. That's why when I'm with my family, it's always like, "Oh, where's Pooh at? He's probably upstairs." That's the way I charge. You know what I mean? Charge myself.
I can talk to anyone; don't get me wrong. But afterward it's like, "Damn, I'm wore out." Like when I do the Adidas appearances when I go to China. I used to feel that in high school, too. It's an overload. You're doing interviews, promotional things. So sometimes people think you're arrogant or dumb or don't care. But it's just who I am. I did my talking with my game, doing what I had to do. People sometimes might feel like I'm not friendly or I'm not outgoing, but I can't help it; that's who I am. I'm used to it.
That's one of the things I used to worry about, too. "Damn, I gotta be more outgoing." Used to burn myself out doing that. Like with parties and events and stuff. Just visiting for a minute. Just trying to be there for like 30-45 minutes, running everywhere. But then after I leave it feels like I played an overtime game. People think you're famous, successful, got money, you can do everything. "What's your problem?" they'll think. "Too good for us?" It's never that.
That comes from my mom, watching her, being with her. I was her last kid — the good kid, the quiet kid. I didn't want to cause that trauma to my mom. My mom, Brenda, had me when she was 34. She's been everything to me. That's also why I always say everything happened for a reason. I remember when I was younger I'd have friends and their moms would be younger and they were going out and stuff, putting on hip clothes. My mom always had on more mature clothes. She wasn't going out.
I'm like, "Mom, where's your swagger?" You know? "Like, do something." But she was fit specifically for me. You know what I mean? Whereas I've seen her do things and dedicate so much to me. So I'm thinking, "Man, if I could do that — just a piece of what she did for her family — I'm gonna be good because she sacrificed everything for her family, for me and my brothers." She was the inspiration, the model. She was working a lot. She was paying all the bills in the house, always had a job.
I would isolate myself from friends and family a little bit, but not in the way where I'm totally gone. I wanted to show them that I could handle everything by myself. I get that from my mom. Straight independent, don't need nobody. I always wanted to be like her. Both her husbands she was with, it was like, "Heck with y'all. I don't need y'all. I can do my own thing with my four boys. I can take care of all of them."
* * *
"I'll Show You," of course, was in Chicago basketball. I never really knew about Chicago basketball. All the older players, like Jamie Brandon and other names you'd hear when you were young — not Michael Jordan. I used to hear people compare me to them. That happens in Chicago all the time when you're growing up if you're a hooper. It's like, "Boy, you play just like Jamie Brandon."
I'm like, "Who?" They'd say he played for King. So alright, they're putting the expectations on you right away. You're playing under extreme pressure every night in high school. They do it in grammar school now. But with a lot of kids who get out and kind of make it, this makes you a tough player.
That was big for me with all the injuries when I got to the NBA. Not just the injuries and the rehab, but when the injuries came, things started to be different, people were different. People were just so wrapped up with me. It could be the smallest things. It might be, "I didn't like him in this interview," or "I didn't like what he said about that," and, "Oh yeah, by the way, ain't he injured, anyway?" You know what I mean?
Eventually I stopped trying to fight it. I know why you're mad. A good player plays. I'd be mad if I went to a Dodgers game and Clayton Kershaw isn't pitching. I'd be like, "Why am I at this game?" I get it. But I can't help the fact that whatever happened, happened. And it happened for a reason.
I'm a more enlightened person now. I felt like I used the time I had off to better myself as a person. That's what made me feel good about everything. So me even being in the league now and doing everything I'm doing, that's my history. That's me making history. I'm not going to be the last one who gets injured or the last star who gets injured the way I got injured. But what I can do is show you a way — be an example to the next person, whoever they are. I can show the next person, "You don't have to stop or go back, there's more for you." That's where I'm at.
My "I'll Show You" thing when I got to the league was like me saying, "I'm here, I can play with y'all." That was in that first playoffs against Boston with the Bulls. We were kind of a new team, young vets. Had a new coach with Vinny Del Negro. Ben Gordon was our scorer and then we got things going at the end after we picked up John Salmons, a cool dude. We always had good dudes on the Bulls teams — especially Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich.
I was being more the point guard. Ben scored, Salmons scored. We get into the playoffs and we're going to Boston, the champs. Kevin Garnett was injured, but Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Hall of Fame guys, were there.
Take that first game against Boston in the 2008 playoffs. I get 36 points and we win in overtime, gain home court, and it's a seven-game series. That really was the start for me. It was a crazy series with all the overtimes, big plays by everyone — great fun. It also was me finding out that not only can I play with y'all, I'm playing against some Hall of Famers. It felt like straight AAU. The team was just riding with me. It was just one of my moments in the bright light. It was, "I'm here. I can play on this level." I believed I could, but you always have to show it. Not only am I playing against all these greats, but I'm challenging you. I'm making you sweat. I'm making you argue. Going back to the bench, thinking about stuff. It's like, "Who is that guy?"
My vision was so clear then on what I wanted to do. Win MVP. Bam! Win a championship. That was next. Every year it seemed like we lost to LeBron James, but it kept getting clearer and then injury, injury, injury. Then it faded away.
At that point it was like, "Damn, what's next?" It was tough, but I always had to look forward. Start small, take some small steps. Then what kept me going was I'd have one idea where I tried to have something push me along. Come back, and this game, try not to miss any free throws. Because I'm going from shooting 25, 27 times in a game to 15 to nine to then DNPs. So it's like, "Alright, free throws, I ain't gonna miss no free throws this game." And then, "Alright, defense." Just start small and then try to pick myself back up. That's what I was doing, making it another game within the game, another challenge to me to see what I could do, how I could be better and help the team.
It taught me to play with a purpose. Every dribble with a purpose. I really got that from Kobe. Kobe taught me so much just watching him, hearing him talk. It's why I mention him a lot when I talk about the game. It's special, the way he set guys up. He didn't waste dribbles.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "I'll Show You"
Copyright © 2019 Derrick Rose and Sam Smith.
Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books LLC.
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