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updated: 5/4/2011 11:18 AM

Rose honors his mother after winning MVP in a landslide

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  • Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has been hearing chants of "MVP" all season, and now the NBA superstar has earned the honor in only his third pro season at 22.

      Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has been hearing chants of "MVP" all season, and now the NBA superstar has earned the honor in only his third pro season at 22.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

This was a true Mother's Day Spectacular.

Plenty has been written about how the three older Rose brothers formed a protective barrier around Derrick when he grew up in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.

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There is a gaping age difference, though, between Derrick and his brothers. Dwayne is older by 16 years, Reggie by 14 years and Alan 7 years. Derrick was more like an only child with three uncles who hung around the house.

"Absolutely," Reggie said. "It gets to the point now, me and Dwayne, we're brothers. But we're also father figures."

Growing up, Derrick was closest to his mother, Brenda. He expressed that love with an emotional tribute Tuesday when given the NBA's highest individual honor.

As he ran down the list of family members to thank, Rose paused when he got to his mom. He started to get choked up but gathered himself and continued.

"Last, but not least, I want to thank my mom, Brenda Rose," he said. "My heart, the reason I play the way I play. Knowing the days I don't feel like going into practice, when I'm having a hard time, I think about how she had to wake me up, go to work and just make sure I was all right and make sure the family was all right.

"Those are hard days. My days shouldn't be hard because I'm doing what I'm doing and that's playing basketball. You keep me going every day, and I love you."

Brenda sat front and center in the ballroom at the Marriott Lincolnshire, so the gathered crowd and television audience couldn't see her reaction when Derrick paid tribute.

"Crying," Brenda admitted later.

Winning the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award has been a foregone conclusion for several weeks. It became official Tuesday, with Rose collecting 113 of 121 first-place votes. Dwight Howard finished second and LeBron James third.

The trophy itself will be an ideal Mother's Day gift for Brenda. She already has his rookie-of-the-year statue sitting somewhere at her house.

"I want to have it for at least a couple days before she steals it," Rose joked.

A running line of dialogue between Rose and reporters who cover the team are which movies or TV shows he brings to watch on the road. He claims to rarely watch SportsCenter or the NBA on TNT in his hotel room, because he got hooked on movies as a kid while curled up on the couch with his mom.

"He was the baby. That's how it was," Dwayne Rose said. "She treated us all the same, but when it came to him, she treated him like the baby.

"Me and Reggie, we were older. So by then, we thought we knew everything. She got to nurture all over again, got to be a mom all over again. I think she gravitated to that."

The brothers were so much older, they didn't even recognize Derrick's spectacular athletic skills until he showed them a video of one of his junior high games.

"Me and my brother Dwayne, we were more (likely to) run around, play tackle football," Reggie said. "Derrick would just sit on the porch. We just had him by so much of an age difference, it was crazy. Even when we used to go to the park and play against Derrick, my brother Dwayne would just dribble around him, push him out of the way, and my brother Alan would dunk on him."

Of course, now Reggie says Derrick put all of the older brother's talents into one package. Dwayne was the point guard, Reggie the shooter and Alan the high-flyer.

Making sure Derrick stayed out of trouble as a kid was no joke.

"If anything, I made sure I stayed on the right path because of my family," Derrick said. "I didn't want to get in trouble with my brothers or my mom. So I made sure I was doing the right things, staying positive, going to school."

The story of Rose's MVP season is even more amazing because he predicted it at the start of training camp, in a way, asking in front of a live microphone, "Why can't I be MVP?"

"We all knew how good he could be," teammate Luol Deng said. "Honestly, it's a big surprise to all of us how quick he got there."

Rose averaged 25.0 points and 7.7 assists while leading the Bulls to an NBA-best 62-20 record. He's the seventh player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and 4 rebounds in a season, joining Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

Rose is the first MVP who didn't receive any votes for the award the previous season and the youngest winner in NBA history at 22. Wes Unseld, who won as a rookie in 1969, was 23.

"I'm still learning things about the game, making careless turnovers, things like that," Rose said with a laugh. "Winning MVP at 22 years old makes me want to push harder, work harder, stay in the gym longer.

"Those are the type of things that push me, especially having this award. I'm blessed to be in this position right now."

So were all those people sitting in the front row.

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