"They love me cause my Swag is so Jockish,
Freshman year I saw a ring like I'm boxin'.
You voted most likely to never-ever top this,
I'm Michael Jordan; Dennis Rodman's...in my hometown." - "Hometown Hero" - Big K.R.I.T.
This all started from a conversation I had with the big homie Bryan Crawford in Chicago while at the Chicago United Hoops Classic, hosted by Converse. Per the usual, when you get up with folks you haven't talked to in a minute, you shoot the shit and catch up on things. Of course, being the Chi-town homer Bryan is, the conversation quickly veered towards the hometown hero, Derrick Rose.
Ed: So, how does Chicago really feel about Derrick Rose? How do you all judge him?
BC: How can you judge him? What can you say about the man? He's done nothing wrong, he's at the top of his game, and we love him.
Usually, I have a witty response, but I didn't. I didn't really have anything to say in return, why? Because Rose is Crawford's guy, because there isn't that much you can say about Rose negatively, and because I don't know anyone who is as judgmental about Derrick Rose more than Crawford. He's the hometown hero, he's been hearing about "Pooh" since '03, and he's gonna probably fight me if I talk crazy about the man.
Truthfully though...I kinda respect it.
How often does it actually happen? Someone who grew up in the town where he plays his professional basketball? It's rare. The city of wind loves Derrick Rose like none other, they know his story, know his kinfolk, and genuinely have a relationship with the man. Seeing him shine on the highest level is the epitome of "putting on for my city."
Its the reason why Carmelo Anthony will never be the "Hometown Hero" in New York.
Its the reason why Baron Davis playing for the Clippers just seemed right (Then they traded him to Siberia...I mean, Cleveland).
It's the reason why folks loved, and then hated LeBron so much for what happened in Cleveland.
When Chauncey Billups landed in Denver, I swear the man played some of the most inspired basketball I'd seen from him since he was in Detroit making big shots in 2004. The homie Tyrell, who's from Denver, talked about the legend that was Chauncey, and that seeing him in the hometown colors just felt right.
Back to Rose...
I've always wondered if he feels pressure. Not in the sense of just performing well, winning games, and stuff like that. More along the lines of just understanding where you come from, who you are as a man, and what do you ultimately stand for. For as much talent I've seem come from Pooh since we made the trip to Chicago to watch Simeon play Crane while I was in college to seeing him present-day, his path to greatness seems like a fairy tale. Maybe it is.
For the life of me, I'm a huge Derrick Rose Stanley. You Bulls fans have been very territorial of the kid for awhile now, so I have to keep my fandom in the background from time-to-time. As much as I want to see my hometown Oklahoma City Thunder do work in these playoffs, as much as I want to see the Miami Heat make America's head explode, and as much as I want to see the Team Uncle All-Stars, aka the Boston Celtics, win one more ring...a part of me wants to see Chicago bring it home, and celebrate their hometown hero.
Related: Chicago United - Converse puts on for the Second City (SLAM Online)
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!