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Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose recently returned from his promotional tour in China and the former MVP appreciates the love and support from his fans there.
Rose, the youngest MVP in NBA history, is the fifth-highest paid sneaker endorser in the league, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and James Harden.
“Going there [for the first time], it was like [I was] Muhammad Ali,” Rose told ESPN before embarking on his recent Adidas promotional tour in China. “It just made me feel great to know that all of this came from being from Chicago. Being a kid from the Midwest, it was amazing that they were even recognizing me.
“It’s all about tapping into the vibes and the love. I go off of vibrations, bro. Out there, I feel very energized, I feel the love, and that’s all I ever want when I go over.”
After getting traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Utah Jazz at the 2018 February trade deadline, the Jazz waived Rose, allowing him to sign with the Timberwolves for the rest of the season.
Rose was minimally used in the nine regular-season games he played with Minnesota. He posted 5.8 points in about 12 minutes per game.
Rose’s role, however, changed during the playoffs and he delivered in a big way.
The explosive guard averaged 14.2 points while shooting an efficient 50.9 percent from the field and 70 percent from three in his five postseason games, playing 24 minutes a contest. Rose showed off that quick first step and league scouts continue to marvel at his elite ability to get to the rim at will and finish in heavy traffic — even after enduring four knee surgeries.
“He is probably the most important player for the Bulls and Chicago after MJ [Michael Jordan],” Jing Zhang of LaceUp China told ESPN. “He has never abandoned the pursuit of his dream of basketball.”
Rose is one of the most respected players in the NBA due to his humble nature, which is why guys in the league get upset when critics attack him for no reason.
Fellow Chicago native Jabari Parker, who signed with the Bulls this summer, passionately defended Rose during his introductory press conference with the Bulls, calling Rose “a legend.”
Rose is a hero to many players who come out of Chicago. He had a decorated career at Simeon, has donated millions of dollars to the city and paid for multiple funerals. That’s why Parker was offended when a reporter asked him if Rose’s tenure with the Bulls ended in a bad way.
“Derrick had no lows,” Parker said. “He didn’t. Because he still maintained. Derrick is a legend, no matter what. I don’t like how you explained that. Injuries are a part of life. Everybody has an injury, either athletics or normal life. Derrick is one of the best players to ever play the game and one of the best icons of Chicago. He accomplished his duty already.”
Rose says it meant a lot to him to hear Parker say that.
“He gave you the Chicago answer,” Rose told ESPN with a laugh. “It’s big to hear that compliment. You know how it is with interviews. My relationship with media is different than with regular basketball athletes. My relationship is different, and I watch what I say. To hear him say that and hear other people comment about it, it made me feel good.”
Rose re-signed with the Timberwolves on a one-year contract worth $2.3 million on the first day of free agency.