We got the answer to an ages old question this morning.
What does the Chicago Tribune do when it needs someone to write a column that is so awful, pointless and just, plain, wrong that even David Haugh won’t write it?
Ladies and (oh, who are we kidding…) Gentlemen and Gentlemen, we give you, Rich Mayor and the dumbest column you’ll read all year.
We could stop here and it would be the dumbest non-Haugh column of the month. This really isn’t going to go well, is it?
You owed us more.
Derrick Rose, if you sift through the city’s anger, blind support, unhappiness and general confusion, you likely will find one overarching emotion: a deep-rooted disappointment.
Well first, Derrick owes you nothing.
Secondly, “anger, blind support, unhappiness and general confusion” isn’t something a city feels, but it does sum up nicely what happens when Lou Canellis tries to read a two-syllable word off the teleprompter.
Throughout Chicago, your story is nearly a refrain, a chorus from us.
Pretty sure you don’t know the difference between a refrain and a chorus.
We know you grew up without a father and were protected, sheltered and smothered by a doting mother and trio of brothers, headlined by the talkative Reggie.
This has nothing to do with coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
We know street hustlers begged and pleaded to grab a piece of you in junior high.
This also has nothing to do with coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
We know how you dominated games without scoring points, dictating tempo like pure point guards do while flashing a violently graceful athleticism when least expected. We know. We’ve known for a long time.
I’m happy that this amorphous “we” you claim to be speaking for thinks you know this. It’s clear that you don’t know how to not overwrite or make a point.
You are Chicago’s, you are ours. If you change your number to 25, we’ll replace our No. 1s.
I hope he tells Marquis Teague first, or that’s going to be awkward.
We buy your shoes, watch your mixtapes, eat your Giordano’s, excuse your SAT debacle at Memphis, defend your rep at every juncture and applaud your every step before it’s made.
I had no idea that by buying someone’s shoes, apparently dusting off the last working VCR on the planet, eating pizza or looking the other way when a guy might have committed academic fraud, it means you get to tell him what to do. I wish Adidas would make a Rich Mayor shoe so we could tell him to do something else for a living.
And, if you applaud every step a guy takes before he “makes” it, then how about you applaud his decision to not return for the folly of an overmatched playoff run on a recently repaired knee?
We rejoice in the magic of the Bulls’ hitting on a 1.7-percent chance to bring our humble hero home to make good.
So far, it sounds like Rich Mayor and his imaginary Chicago chorus are with Derrick win or tie.
We have watched you grow and we have supported you, unconditionally.
Well, except now, when you placed the biggest condition possible on your support of him.
We should have been treated better.
I can think of few things that cause people to suffer more than an athlete on one of their favorite teams putting his long term health over the possibility of playing a few games at the end of a mediocre season. Oh, the horror! Somebody call Amnesty International!
Your vague and perhaps misleading explanations remain my biggest issue.
Now, we’re getting to the good stuff. Rich Mayor is about to air his grievances! Pull up a chair, gang, and lean forward so his insights can more quickly attack your cerebellum.
Your season is over but your rabid base is in the woods, confused, subsisting on blind faith until next season.
This doesn’t seem like an issue, more like the worst cult ever. Like the kind whose Kool-Aid is actually just Kool-Aid. In juice boxes.
You have given no real answers.
Ask stupid questions…
We talk in bars, on Facebook, on Twitter.
Why do you go to bars? They serve furniture polish there?
We absorb jabs from friends out of town.
“Hey, Rich, the best player on your local sports team hasn’t come back from a serious knee injury yet!”
We digest and dissect every word you say.
You might want to switch the order on that, otherwise you’re going to bleed out.
We dedicate hours of our lives we never will get back to blogging about you, calling in to talk on the radio but, in the end, we’re all just grasping at straws.
So he owes you for wasting your time needlessly obsessing over when he’ll be healthy enough to play. Makes perfect sense, really.
We’re out here, we have been out here and we’re pathetic.
Stay out there. Nobody’s going to argue with your last point.
(A quick aside: Dear reader, you might be wondering why I have been given any platform, much less this one.
Mostly, I just feel bad for whoever had to transcribe this for you. I would guess crayon is hard to read.
Am I a professional athlete, understanding what it’s like to return from catastrophic injury? No.
No. But you don’t have to be one to have an opinion. Even if you were, you’d likely be just as wrong as you are right now.
Am I a practicing physician referencing first-hand experiences with professional athletes? No.
No. You’re a hack pulling stuff straight out of his ass, just like 90 percent the other morons at the Tribune.
Am I a teammate not willing or wanting to criticize the franchise cornerstone? No.
Because so many of the Bulls are afraid to be outspoken? Maybe you should sit the rest of this out.
Am I a national voice, perhaps inclined to take the player’s side to maintain celebrity relationships? Resoundingly, no.
And…just when I thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you raise the bar, again.
Am I born and raised in Chicago, Derrick’s age and a die-hard fan of the city and student of its basketball history? Yes, and that was enough.
That’s not enough. That’s nothing. You are an accident of geography, who decided to like a basketball team, and I’m sure you read the Bill Simmons’ big book of 90210 and basketball and consider yourself a scholar. As someone reading your writing for the first time, I’m pretty sure you have suffered some sort of catastrophic head wound at some point.
Now back to Rose.)
How good of you.
If only you had stood up, even two months ago, and said, “Guys, please trust me, but the knee doesn’t feel right. I don’t want to risk it. #TheReturn will be next year, and better than ever,” something as ephemeral as a tweet, with nine characters to spare.
Why? Why would he possibly have needed to have “said” that? You’re big into telling Derrick what he owes people. So let me try. What he owes them is to work to get healthy, not to try to soothe the angst of a few idiots, who mistake the actions of a player looking out for his best interests with some sort of personal betrayal.
Ask Luol Deng if it was difficult to control his message post-spinal tap. He heard the critics, grabbed his phone and fired out a few. The doubters went poof. The city would have stood in unison and applauded. We still might be going.
This is so dumb, I’m shocked that the pixels stuck to the screen.
“Hey Derrick! Luol was in a hospital bed suffering the second worst possible reaction to a spinal tap that there is, and even he had the decency to send out a tweet so we could decide to forgive him for missing some playoff games!”
If you announced before Game 6 against the Nets and said, “Guys, #TheReturn is tonight,” scalpers’ prices would have quadrupled. Officials might have had to stop the game as we stood in unison and applauded. We still might be going.
Luol would have done that. He’d have tweeted he was coming back, then crawled out onto the court, shit himself and died. And we’d still be cheering.
Also, it’s ironic that this guy is using Luol to prove this point. Because what Derrick did in these playoffs is exactly what Luol did in the 2009 playoffs against the Celtics. Fans and the team criticized him for sitting out that series with a lower leg injury that people thought he should be trying to play through. Turns out, his leg was broken.
Don’t you want that moment? Wouldn’t that inch you closer to Michael Jordan?
Remember that time MJ tore his ACL in the first half of a game, then came back in with his leg flopping around aimlessly and scored 57 points against the Knicks? Hell, at halftime, he invented Twitter so he could let us know when he was coming back.
I can’t remember though, if it was before or after he retired in the prime of his career, then spent nearly two full seasons trying to play baseball.
You know what David Lee did in Game 6 of the Warriors’ first-round series clincher at home against the Nuggets. Lee had torn his hip flexor only four games earlier. But there he was, checking in.
The. Crowd. Went. Insane.
David Lee played one minute, missed one shot, got one rebound and basically got the same reaction from the fans that the mascot gets when he loads the t-shirt cannon.
Three standing ovations. Game delayed. He played for 87 seconds. He grabbed a rebound. He checked out. Derrick, he wasn’t walking a few days before.
Or a few days later.
You know what else? David Lee means about 4 percent to Oakland of what you mean to Chicago.
Which is exactly why Mark Jackson could recklessly shove him out onto the court for a few token, meaningless, playoff appearances and only get a little bit of criticism for risking further injury to his player. It doesn’t make it right, it just makes it easier to get away with.
Phew. Glad you told me, I was holding my ear up to it like a shell at the beach.
It’s what Lee said to TNT after the game: “I felt like I could go out, especially at home, and energize the crowd a little bit. When I told the guys I was playing, the guys were really enthusiastic. I thought I could help the team, going out there and giving anything I had. That’s part of being a leader and that’s what I was trying to do.”
“You know, all hands on deck. Like I said, I just wanted to give the team anything I could. … I did what I could.”
That’s adorable, what does it have to do with anything? Did the Bulls lose to the Heat because they weren’t inspired enough? No, they weren’t as good, and they had too many players out, legitimately, with injury. A token appearance or two by Derrick wasn’t going to change any of that.
Joakim Noah was running on needles. Nate Robinson was throwing up. Deng showed up to the Berto Center and could barely breathe. Taj Gibson had the flu. Kirk Hinrich was on crutches. Jimmy Butler was playing every second.
But there you sat, like every game this season, while your teammates fell short.
The biggest insult is that Rose isn’t tough, and doesn’t want to win. For a self-proclaimed “student of the game” to ignore everything Derrick has done in his career to this point, in service of trying to prove the unprovable is disgusting. Derrick is an incredibly driven player. If he’s not playing it’s because he’s not healthy yet. That’s it. There is no other argument to make here. Nate Robinson barfing into a garbage can on the bench doesn’t make Derrick any less tough. This argument is tired and ridiculous, and I truly do not understand the motivation behind anyone who makes it.
Don’t get it twisted.
How can anyone not getting it twisted after you’ve origami’d the shit out of it?
We’re well-aware that you’re our present and future, more than any national talking-head would care to recognize. As puzzling and maddening as the process has been, as mistreated as we might feel, we appreciate you taking care of your body. In our greatest and wildest dreams, our body would be your body. We would take care of it too. But we wouldn’t have misled our own.
You owed us a human explanation.
Why? Seriously, what is the possible reason that you need an explanation other than he had reconstructive knee surgery and he wasn’t healthy enough to play yet? Is your life so sad that you have to live vicariously through someone else to the point that having to wait until October to see him play again instead of April or May has caused you some sort of irreversible mental anguish?
But that’s over. You mangled this situation.
You are mangling the English language, logic and reason, so I defer to the expert on mangling.
For months, we knew doctors had cleared you. For months, we knew the next step, the final step, in your rehab is to actually play real games. For months, we knew you had been dunking and shooting lefty jumpers from 18 feet. For months, we had heard dozens of observers from multiple outlets, ones with zero rooting interest, shake their heads in disbelief that you look better than ever. For weeks, we knew you had been doing windmills off each leg. For weeks, we know your mental confidence has been at 90 percent.
You don’t know shit. What you know is that Derrick was working towards getting back. Where exactly he was in that process, you don’t know. The fact that you don’t trust him, that you think he was malingering, and that you seem to think he was doing it to wound you personally, says an awful lot about you. All of it awful, actually.
Chicago loves you, Derrick. In all likelihood, Chicago always will. You’re from here, you made it here. You’re an athletic marvel, a source of pride, a beacon for the streets, a guiding light above the depths of the Chief Keef culture.
Damnit, Derrick you are from here! You have to play when we decide you are ready! That’s the Chicago way!
But the next time you take the United Center floor, the next time you take over a possession, a quarter, a half, a game, a series, a season, the next time you attack the lane after a screen, explode off the floor and contort your body in-air like some sort of CGI animation?
Is that a sentence?
We’ll be standing, and cheering.
But maybe not as loud as before.
You owed us more.
This is a great summary of this article, because all of it is just so wrong. Well, except for the standing and cheering part. Once Derrick is back, all will be forgiven. All. Not that there should be anything for him to be forgiven for, but thanks to dopes like Rich Mayor, some people think there is.
And of course Derrick doesn’t owe “us” anything. It’s not our knee. It’s not our career.
Rich Mayor, a Chicago native and graduate of Illinois, is an editor in the Tribune’s Sports department. He’s 25 years old, the same age Derrick Rose will be in October.
I like how the Tribune felt the need to put this guy’s age there. It drips of, “He’s young, he’s passionate, he’s completely wrong and he’s a dumbass, but we’re printing it anyway!”
I want to congratulate you, Rich Mayor of Chicago. Not only for a name straight out of a terrible comic book, but for reminding us, through some incredibly poor writing, just how wrong people can be.