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Hype for Derrick Rose’s return comes to a head

Updated: October 30, 2013 1:13PM



MIAMI — While Derrick Rose was standing in the Bulls’ locker room before the game Tuesday in Miami, telling reporters he had no idea what the scene was like in Chicago surrounding his return, President Obama was tweeting, ‘‘Welcome back, @DRose.’’

So forget just Chicago. Rose’s return reverberated all the way to the White House.

At this stage in his life and career, Rose seems the most animated when he talks about his son, Derrick Rose Jr., who already has the ‘‘Pooh Jr.’’ nickname. The trip to Miami was Rose Jr.’s first to see his father play a road game.

‘‘He’ll be cheering,’’ Rose said. ‘‘He actually knows who I am right now.’’

Rose said his core group of friends and family was in Miami.

‘‘I wouldn’t say it’s a celebration,” he said. ‘‘They’re not going to miss this one, I’ll say that. Have the opportunity to come here, get some good weather, get some sun and enjoy a good game.’’

From Simeon to Memphis and after his season off following knee surgery, Rose’s family has fiercely protected him and consistently made sure he was in the best possible place to succeed. He has been vindicated at every step, never more publicly than in Miami.

“Of course [this is vindication for us],” Rose said. ‘‘This is a huge opportunity for me. I’m going to try to take advantage of it and see how it works.”

In a stroke of scheduling genius, the NBA made sure Rose’s return had the biggest stage possible.

‘‘I’m back to playing the game that I love playing, against a great team,’’ Rose said. ‘‘What other way to have it than playing against the champs? For this to be the first game for us, to have our chemistry already, it’s going to be a playoff atmosphere.

‘‘[The Heat] is going to test you in every way — mentally, physically, because that’s just the way they are. That’s why they’re champions. They jump on you. You’ve got to make sure you play almost a complete game through the whole 48 minutes.’’

The first-game hype should die down quickly. Then it’s back to the regular-season grind.

‘‘No matter who we’re playing against, it’s the next game and it’s big because it’s the next game,’’ Rose said. ‘‘That’s the way [coach]Tom [Thibodeau] tries to program us. It works for us because it’s absolutely true.’’

Email: mobrien@suntimes.com

Twitter: @michaelsobrien



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