With the beginning of an NBA career just taking flight, and major awards already being locked up in the awards cabinet, the world was Derrick Rose’s oyster.
This was all until he hit a major log, almost to within retirement.
With the first selection in the 2008 draft, loaded with now reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook, NBA Champion Kevin Love and defensive anchor DeAndre Jorden, Rose was a class above in the collegiate season.
He led the University of Memphis to the National Championship game in his freshman year, showcasing his class, skill and leadership in dominant displays.
Despite averaging mediocre stats during his college season, lottery winners Chicago Bulls were determined to get their franchise player, a role Derrick Rose could fit in.
Entering his NBA career with the weight of the world on his shoulder, Rose quickly silenced the critics, playing all but one game, averaging 16.8ppg and 6.3ast. Without setting the world on fire, Rose did enough to claim a near-unanimous victory for Rookie of the Year.
In just his third year, Rose quickly reaffirmed his place in the league, with a dominant season of 25ppg, 7.7ast and 4reb per game, to claim a runaway victory to become the youngest player in this history of the NBA to win the regular-season MVP. In what was a great individual season for the young star, he led the Bulls to a 62-20 regular season record, clinching the top seed in the East.
While succumbing to the overpowering impact of LeBron James and his star-studded Miami Heat line-up, the league witnessed the new face of the NBA.
Yet, while reaching his potential so early in his career, it has been a downhill slope since, with injuries taking centre stage.
2012 was a disastrous year in terms of injuries for the reigning MVP, battling lower back issues, toe issues and groin problems for the majority of the season.
Entering the playoffs after an injury-filled season, all eyes were on Rose and his Bulls’ team, with hopes of going one step further than the previous year.
All signs were good, with a relatively easy outing against the 76ers in game one, until Rose took a turn for the worst.
Coach Thibodeau continued to play with his MVP on the court, as he succumbed to an ACL injury after leaping off the ground in a regulation play.
Ultimately, it spelled the end of Rose’s season, as well as the next season with a conventional ACL-injury being a 12-month process.
He returned to the court as the 2013/14 season kicked off, struggling with his form and to find his feet back at the professional level. However, his comeback only lasted a matter of weeks with another major injury occurring in his same knee, tearing his meniscus against Portland a month later. He was again ruled out for the majority of the season.
Two seasons earlier Rose was on top of the world, becoming an MVP and a threat that teams would invest their scouting into, and after missing the majority of two seasons of basketball, questions were being around his longevity, and whether he could reach the same heights in his return.
With the 2014/15 season around the corner, Rose was again the talk of the town, with The Return 2.0. However, it would end just like the first one, with a torn meniscus in his right knee after 46 games.
He would return to lead the Bulls to another playoff run, again being outclassed by LeBron James, and his new Cleveland super-team.
Rose had a much publicised career up to this point, being in the spotlight for the right reasons, and a few wrong reasons. This was only the start for what was a much anticipated career which had delivered plenty of expectations and very little reward.
After 2014, Rose was traded from the Bulls to New York, lasting a year at his new club with injuries, as well as poor form causing many problems for the 2011 MVP.
Opting out of his contract, he decided to take his talents to join forces with an arch enemy, LeBron James. Arriving on a minimum contract, Rose put his injuries behind him, taking the lead role in the point guard role with the departure of Irving, and injury to new-recruit Isaiah Thomas.
After suffering a sprained ankle against the Bucks, Rose, now 29 years old, is contemplating retirement due to the continual agony of injuries and the mental toll it is having on his game. Since his first major injury in the playoffs in 2011, he has missed 257 games with injuries alone.
Have we ever witnessed within the NBA-ranks such a great talent wasted? Probably not.