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Lockout could push Derrick Rose overseas

Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose approaches net for ceremonial layup Murray Park basketball court W. 73rd St. S. Hermitage Ave.

Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose approaches the net for a ceremonial layup at the Murray Park basketball court, W. 73rd St. and S. Hermitage Ave., during an event to commemorate the renovation of Murray Park Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 11, 2011 4:23PM

Derrick Rose made a ceremonial return to Englewood on Tuesday at the renovated outdoor court at Murray Park.

With Bulls personnel conspicuously absent because of the owners’ lockout, Rose said he felt sorry more for NBA fans than for himself and his fellow players.

“It’s looking pretty bad right now,” Rose said. “If this lockout continues, then, for sure, I’ll take into consideration going overseas and playing there.

‘‘Personally, the lockout isn’t hurting me. I do miss communicating with people from the Bulls and working out at the Berto Center. It’s just bad that we have millionaires and billionaires arguing over money, and they can’t reach an agreement.”

The 100 kids Rose met with were led to believe that they were being bused to receive a free fitness clinic.

Instead, the kids were surprised when Rose met them there, gave a motivational speech, answered some questions and posed for group photographs.

“This means a lot to me, but a lot more to these kids,” Rose said. “I remember coming up here when I lived just two blocks away and playing every day from 7 till probably 11, when my mama would come get me and take me back home. This is what everybody needs in our neighborhood. We don’t have indoor courts, so [these outdoor courts] are the only things that keep us together. [I’m] just giving back.’’

Rose’s project ended five months of renovation work in the impoverished, high-crime Englewood community.

The renovation was financed by Powerade, McDonald’s, Wilson, Adidas and the Wasserman Foundation.

“This was part of a promotional campaign following Rose from Englewood to MVP,” Powerade spokesman Shaun Clair said.

“At first, we had pledged to contribute $25 for every point Rose scored in the playoffs to the Chicago Park District.

“But we decided to contribute $20,000, and the Wasserman Foundation added $5,000.”

There was heavy police security to prevent any crowd problems.

Obviously, it will take more than renovated outdoor basketball courts to make life happier and safer in Englewood. But Rose has taken a step in the right direction.

“This is the first of many such steps he’ll take,” said Rose’s agent, former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong.

“This is his home, and he will keep giving back.”

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