Photo via Adidas
When Derrick Rose plays on October 5 against the Pacers in the preseason, it will have been 511 days since his surgery to repair a torn ACL. He's packed on 10 pounds of muscle while in recovery and appears poised to regain his elite status in the NBA.
Rose shared his thoughts with us on the past year -- and his excitement for the upcoming season -- prior to his recent free event for over 5,000 Chicago area kids (featuring a concert by Big Sean) in celebration of his new DRose 4 shoes from Adidas.
What was it like going overseas this summer?
It was a blessing, seeing the people, seeing the support -- the turnouts for the events were great -- and getting to see the little kids trip out that I was actually in their city. It's a blessing, and I'll never forget that.
Do you think you have more to prove this season than you have in seasons past?
Not at all. My job is to go out there and play the same way. I could care less what people say about me. Play aggressive and help put my team in the best situation to win.
You're coming off an injury, but you've also bulked up. Are you expecting the same number of drives to the hoop?
I'm really trying to have a game where you pick your poison. If you let me shoot, I'm going to shoot. If your hands are down, I'm definitely going to shoot. Or, if you play me a certain way, I'm going to get to the lane or get to the hole and shoot my floater.
How would you define a successful season for the Chicago Bulls?
I mean, a championship, that's everyone's goal. But I think for us, coming together as quickly as possible as a team.
Photo via Adidas
With your new shoe, obviously performance is important. How important is style?
Style is huge. I'm into fashion. I wouldn't go out there and put on an ugly shoe; it's just not in me. Chicago is a fashion city, and I'm from here. I know what people can say. I don't want them saying, "Oh, he can ball but those shoes are ugly."
How will these shoes help the average guy, like 5'9" with limited vertical ability, playing in a rec league?
[Laughs] You're going to be balling. I'm telling you, man. You might get a D League contract, you never know. But really, I think it's a comfortable shoe. If you're playing in shoes that hurt your feet or twist your ankle numerous times, this is the shoe that's going to prevent that.
What has fatherhood done for you?
I think my son came at the right time. I didn't have to worry about the criticism and the media because I was so caught up in him. He takes my mind off everything when I'm with him. Just trying to do the opposite of what my dad did for me, and I think I'll become a good parent.
Do you consider yourself the best player in the league?
I believe so. I believe if you're any franchise player, any pro athlete and you don't believe you're the best player in the league, the owner should fire you or you should retire. You should have that confidence that you're the best -- or you want to be the best -- or you shouldn't be playing that sport or doing what you're doing.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Derrick Rose gives back to the kids in Chicago via alley-oop...