Bulls forward Jabari Parker was quick to come to Derrick Rose’s defense during his introductory press conference Wednesday at the United Center.
A reporter asked for Parker’s thoughts on the “highs and lows” of Rose’s career with the Bulls.
“Derrick had no lows,” Parker said. “He didn’t because he still maintained. And Derrick is a legend no matter what. I don’t like how you explained that.”
(Note: Rose had three major knee injuries during his seven seasons with the Bulls and struggled to get back to his MVP form.)
When the reporter tried to clarify his question, Parker shut him down again.
“I don’t know rise and falls,” he said. “Injuries is a part of life, everybody has injury. Either with athletics or normal life but Derrick is one of the best players to play the game and he’s one of the best icons of Chicago, so he accomplished his duty already.”
Parker has practically been viewed as Rose 2.0 throughout his basketball career. As soon as news broke that the Bulls were interested in Parker, the Rose comparisons — for better or for worse — began swirling with headlines like: “Here’s hoping Jabari Parker can finish what Derrick Rose started with Bulls” and “Can Jabari Parker do what Derrick Rose couldn’t in Chicago?”
The storyline was inevitable.
The comparison is nothing new. It started as early as 2009 when Parker was a freshman star at Simeon — the same high school Rose graduated from two years prior. Both were voted Mr. Basketball in Illinois and earned McDonald’s All-American titles.
After a year of college, they both entered the NBA draft. Rose was the first pick overall in the 2008 draft, and Parker was the second in 2014.
But just as their rise to stardom is similar, so is the adversity they faced once they made it to the NBA.
After being named Rookie of the Year in 2009, Rose’s career was derailed by injuries.
Parker, who signed a two-year deal worth $40 million with the Bulls on Saturday, returns to the Windy City at the age of 23 full of optimism. But there’s an ongoing concern with whether he’ll be able to stay healthy especially after he had two knee surgeries in four seasons (most recently in February 2017).
Parker said that he doesn’t believe his injuries will be burdensome this season and looks forward to having an immediate impact on the team.