The Derrick Rose story has gone from the Brothers Grimm to just plain grim.
In other words, the fairy tale is over.
Derrick fell off the beanstalk. The three bears had Rosielocks for lunch. Derrickstiltskin is spinning straw into fool’s gold.
Rose squandered being the hometown folk hero when the Bulls’ regular season and first-round playoff series passed without him playing a game on his surgically repaired, medically cleared knee.
Even if Rose returns tonight for Game 1 of the NBA East semifinal series against the Heat, what condition would he be in to contribute anyway?
Look, no group of people can agree on anything in America, so it’s a good guess that even the Bulls’ organization has been divided on what Rose should do. Basketball operations might want him to play in the playoffs and business operations might think he should sit until next season just to be safe.
Rose’s problem with the public is that he kept concocting reasons — excuses? — not to come back sooner than later: He had to be able to dunk off his left leg ... he had to wait for a message from God ... he had to regain his muscle memory.
Critics proceeded to attack Rose, who claims that he doesn’t hear them because he is occupied listening to how his body feels. Most of us listen to our bodies, too, and what our bodies tell us is to get back to work because we need the paycheck and the office is short a person without us.
But Rose has chosen to sit out. Meanwhile, his teammates play a superstar point guard short while suffering from all sorts of injuries and illnesses of their own.
Rose invoked what apparently has become an athlete’s prerogative in the modern era: Play when you decide to even after doctors say you can.
While Rose might not have heard critics the past few weeks, he likely heard the flatterers the past few years. He was Chicago’s guy, the hometown product who grew up in a tough section of town and went on to rescue the Bulls from irrelevance.
This was a love story — yes, a fairy tale — of unanimous and unconditional proportions.
Except, you know, for that one itty-bitty condition that Rose should play when doctors cleared his body for action.
OK, let’s concede that maybe Rose’s knee really isn’t ready to go and does need more time to be in basketball shape.
The disappointment still would be that Rose succumbed to that possibility so easily instead of begging and nagging the Bulls to let him back into games.
Instead others pleaded with him to return and he respectfully declined.
So, no, we’re not talking about a Disney movie anymore here, are we?
Derrick Rose now is just another athlete that a large segment of the public views with skepticism and who will be graded on his performance: Play well and be cheered; play poorly and be booed.
Odds favor the cheers because Rose figures to resume being a spectacularly superb player whenever he returns.
Derrick Rose still will be talented, rich and famous and living the good life.
He just won’t be living it in a fairy tale anymore.
Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.