Rose remembers roots, makes statement in first All-Star start
BY Herb Gould Staff Reporter February 21, 2011 12:12AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
LOS ANGELES — During the introductions of the All-Stars, LeBron James came out acting like the King, juking and jiving to the hard-rocking strains of Lenny Kravitz. All his act needed was a sequined leisure suit.
On the other hand, Derrick Rose — perhaps taking the lyric “I want to get away’’ too literally — looked surprised to be on stage in front of a packed Staples Center. It was as if he’d opened the wrong door.
After a moment, though, he managed a smile.
Showing more potential, Rose, whose MVP campaign appears to be gaining steam, came out with the most colorful wardrobe accessory (players division) at the NBA’s 60th annual gathering of its stars Sunday night.
Wearing yellow shoes while everyone else was adorned in red or blue from head to toe, the 22-year-old Bull made a serious fashion statement. Whether you liked the shoe hue or not, you couldn’t miss them on Rose’s feet.
The yellow shoes, combined with his blue uniform, were a tribute to his alma mater, the Simeon Wolverines — the South Side basketball powerhouse he led to a pair of state championships.
“That was a shout-out to them,’’ said Rose, who heard shoe barbs from his fellow All-Stars “the whole game. ‘Why’d adidas put you in those shoes?’ Stuff like that. It was all fun and games. I love the shoes. They’re my shoes. I’d wear them all the time if I could, but they have to be your team colors.’’
It’s not all about the shoes, though.
With Kobe Bryant pouring in 37 points on his home court, the West survived a late East charge and held on for a 148-143 win.
Rose had 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting and five assists. It hardly was stellar stuff after all the All-Star buildup. But as much as he would have preferred more, he knows these games are for small forwards and shooting guards to shine, with point guards delivering the ball.
This defeat doesn’t bother him as much as a regular-season loss, he said.
“The regular season, I’d die for one of those games,” he said. “Those are very important. This is for the fans.’’
That will be his biggest memory of the weekend — “Just being able to see the fans. They were very supportive; I hope they had fun.’’
The real business of this season will be renewed in Toronto on Tuesday, when the Bulls start trying to build on their 38-16 start.
At Rose’s request, adidas designers placed three paneled zones on his new yellow adiZero 1.5 Rose shoe, to honor his three brothers, Reggie, Allan and Dwayne. And to make sure they and his mother, Brenda, had a good view, Rose bought a suite for his family-and-friends entourage, which numbered nearly two dozen.
In the second half, Rose shed Simeon’s colors and went to another new design, a black shoe with a white toe and white racing stripes on the back.
In a sense, this image stuff is a delicate balance for Rose. He’s naturally humble and unassuming, as his All-Star entrance showed — but he’s also competitive and confident, as he showed with his yellow shoes, and when he said before this season: “Why can’t I be the MVP of the league?’’
“At the beginning of the season, I just made my goals very high,’’ Rose said over the weekend. “If I don’t want to be the best, I should retire right now.
“What’s the point of doing it if you’re not trying to be the best? That’s the way I look at it.’’