Rather than wait for columnists to bait readers into blind Internet anger, we at SB Nation believe in setting the curve ourselves and doing so honestly. On Troll Tuesdays, we attempt to construct the most obnoxious column on earth. Today: Let's talk about the NBA Playoffs.
BROOKLYN, NY -- Imagine Derrick Rose was an astronaut.
Imagine if Derrick Rose was a police officer.
Imagine if Derrick Rose was a teacher.
Imagine if Derrick Rose was President of the United States.
"Hey President Rose," we might say. "We're all waiting in the Situation Room. You plan on showin' up?"
"Hey Mr. Rose, we've all been coming to homeroom for the past 12 months and the big test is this week. Do you even work here anymore?"
"Hey, Officer Rose! Somebody just stole my purse and he's getting away in a stolen car! Are you just gonna sit there and wait for Officer Hinrich to do something?"
"Hey, Captain Rose! The shuttle is malfunctioning! We don't know what's wrong and we're hurtling into outer space. Derrick, we're leaking fuel! Derrick, you're the only pilot on board and we need your help to save the ship! Derrick, do you even care?"
"Derrick, we're all gonna die!"
Apollo 13 would've been a whole different movie if D-Rose had been on board.
How does it end for the crew?
Ask the Bulls.
They're living that movie all month long in the NBA playoffs.
More like a nightmare.
Think of it like this. In what other profession would we pay someone millions of dollars and to NOT show up for work? It's been a full year since Derrick Rose tore his ACL in last year's playoffs, and there's still no sign of ol' no. 1 in the red and black.
If something looks off here, don't adjust your picture.
The problem's not you.
At best, the problem is Derrick Rose's knee. At worst? Well... You tell me.
All we know is this: While the Chicago Bulls put their bodies on the line in Brooklyn, Derrick Rose is watching from the sidelines in a suit and tie. And watching the Bulls this week, I can't help but notice a guy like Joakim Noah, playing on a gimpy ankle and limping up and down the court for 48 minutes. When the game is over, a guy like that walks off the court with no regrets. He left it all out there. That's what it's all about.
When the going gets tough, Joakim Noah gets tougher.
Meanwhile, D-Rose gets another check from Adidas.
Maybe he's spent too much time reading from Jay Cutler's playbook this year, I don't know. And listen: It's not for me to judge whether someone's ready to play. I'm not a doctor.
I'm just a sportswriter. And all I know is I've covered a lot of Chicago heroes over the years. Michael Jordan practically had one foot in the grave when he put the nail in Utah's coffin in 1997. You had to chain Jim McMahon to a hospital bed to keep him off the field back in the '80s. In the '90s Ryne Sandberg was a story in grit and guts, and he wrote a new chapter 162 times a year.
Meanwhile, here's D-Rose setting a new trend in Chicago. Stay off the court until you're ready. Until you're "comfortable". Until the front office takes your brother's advice and buys some more talent for you. And hey, maybe he's right. Maybe he's still hurt, and the long term is more important. Maybe he's smart.
But has Derrick Rose ever said sorry?
To the customers who shell out money they don't have for season tickets. To the teammates like Joakim Noah, fighting through pain every night. To Kirk Hinrich, the ultimate grinder, making something out of nothing for 10 years running. Kirk Hinrich would run through a brick wall if there was a win on the other side. That's what sports is all about.
And where's Derrick Rose to apologize to Kirk? Or to the heroes of the past like Ryne Sandberg or Michael Jordan. To the family of Walter Payton. To fans of basketball who were expecting to see the Bulls battle the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Where's Derrick's apology?
Hey Derrick, apologize to ME. I didn't dedicate my whole life to covering basketball to then get to the playoffs and watch the best players not play.
It's one thing to sit by while the Bulls' spaceship hurtles toward a black hole, but D-Rose has never even acknowledged the rest of us.
I'm no Roger Ebert, but from where I'm sitting this leading man gets two thumbs down.
He's got Adidas in his ear all day long, telling him his future's more important than the Chicago Bulls' present. And we're all supposed to understand why that makes sense.
I don't know, folks.
Maybe you think Derrick's still the unselfish hometown kid we met a few years ago, and it's killing him to miss out on these playoffs. Maybe you think it's impossible that Adidas and his brother have turned him into a me-first guy. Maybe you think he's the future of the franchise, and sitting out is the smart play. Maybe you think one day we'll look back on this laugh after Derrick comes back and leads like the superstar we always wanted.
Maybe you don't think Derrick Rose owes you an apology.
You love him anyway.
Me? All I know is it's been 12 months, the commercials have come and gone, and we're all still waiting for The Return. In the meantime, it's pretty simple. Derrick's not an astronaut, and I'm not a rocket scientist. He's just a basketball player who isn't playing basketball.
I'm just a sportswriter waiting for Derrick Rose to show me he cares.
It's hasn't happened, though. Blame Adidas, blame his brother, blame the society that cares more about swag commercials than inspiring anyone in real life.
Blame whoever you want.
Whatever it is that's happening here, it says a lot about who Derrick has become these days. And if you ask me, this Rose doesn't pass the smell test anymore.