Chicago is sad, depressed, in a funk. Our hopes of returning to NBA greatness shattered as Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL last Saturday, late in the 4th quarter of game 1 of their first round playoff machup.
I want to write about something else, but I can’t. Man down. Our man, last year’s league MVP, down.
This devastating injury seemed fateful, really. Rose had missed over one-third of the shortened regular season due to some kind of ailment: a toe, then the groin, the back, ankle, and foot. Rose’s inability to stay healthy enough to play and the Bulls’ ability to obtain the best record in the NBA without him, seemed to foreshadow that the team would have to go the playoffs sans their superstar. In the regular season, things turned out all right. Yet with the stakes higher, Bulls fans must now hope that The Ewing Theory, the idea that a team plays better after the media dismiss their chances of success after the loss of their best player due to trade or injury, is especially magical and endures through June.
There are other issues at play. Led by the bashfully humble Rose and the quirky Joakim Noah, the Bulls seemed to be the only team in the Eastern Conference with enough fire power to keep the Miami Heat from getting to–and winning–the NBA championship. Outside of Detroit and Indianapolis, the Bulls are the good guys. And since the Heat are the cornerstone of the professional sports Axis of Evil, bandwagon Bulls fans must now rely on the typical LeBron fourth quarter meltdown and other teams to keep those evil-doers from winning a ‘ship: the geriatric Celtics (Despite their current position as an underdog, the number of Celtics championship banners  gives me the same feeling I have when I consider the number of white men who have sat on Supreme Court, so I’m ambivalent); the Lakers (Kobe System? Funny. Kobe Bryant? Not so much.); the (San Antonio) Spurs (Tim Duncan, although kind of endearing now that he is old, still annoys me.); and the (Oklahoma City) Thunder (who I suppose I can love despite Russell Westbrook).
I understand that you all probably expected some form of hate this morning, but my fandom gets the best of me. My chosen salve will be listening to sports radio lament the loss. Fan narcissism of this level requires a kind of collective mourning. We will wax all day about how hard Rose plays, how he needs to learn to fall, about the Bulls’ chances in the playoffs now that John Lucas III will have an opportunity to exorcise his Napoleon complex with every shot he takes. Moreover, we will think about the fact that Rose may never be the same spectacularly explosive player we all fell in love with; that it may take him a full two years to recover from the injury.
I imagine, though, if a reader tried hard enough, one might be able to draw some lessons that may apply to Negroes, the gays, crispy chicken, or other things I normally rant about. What it means to play on despite the loss of one’s fearless leader may, on some level, be applicable to some discrimination happening somewhere. I’m not sure. I’m too mired in my sports-induced sadness to know or do anything beyond shake my head, offer to endure six more months of winter in exchange for a D.Rose miracle, and give Sports Center replays of his injury the Drake Hand #awwwwwwww.
Try to enjoy your week.