Bulls star DeMar DeRozan knows time is running out to win NBA championship

DeRozan, a 14-year veteran at age 33, will make his sixth All-Star Game appearance Sunday, and he still loves the showcase. But it’s the elusive title he craves.

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DeMar DeRozan became the 50th player in NBA history to reach the 20,000-point milestone this season and now has six All-Star Games on his résumé.

DeMar DeRozan this season became the 50th player in NBA history to reach the 20,000-point milestone and now has six All-Star Games on his résumé.

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The VHS tapes meant everything to Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan.

That was his All-Star Weekend growing up in Compton, California, his All-Star experience.

‘‘The All-Star Game, the whole festivities around it, that was always a big thing for me as a kid,’’ DeRozan, 33, told the Sun-Times in a recent interview. ‘‘My dad would record all of it on those VHS tapes, and I would go back and watch the game, the dunk contest, the whole event over and over again.’’

At least until someone accidentally taped over it or the tape simply wore down. After all, the life cycle on a VHS tape isn’t forever.

But DeRozan’s drive is.

‘‘To be honest, I’ve always had that confidence and that work ethic, and growing up you chase those dreams,’’ said DeRozan, who is in his 14th season. ‘‘You want the big college; you want to make it to the pros. I’d watch those tapes and have all these wishful thoughts that I wanted to be a part of it.

‘‘For me, it’s always finding things that are in my imagination that also give me a drive to reach. Being in the NBA and an All-Star was definitely high on the list. And I’m always humbled to be named to [an All-Star Game] because it’s still one of those unbelievable moments. So to be sitting here and going to another one . . . it’s still humbling.’’

Six times humbling. Each one is still meaningful, and that never will change.

Sure, DeRozan’s right hip isn’t feeling great — he missed the Bulls’ last two games before the All-Star break because of it — but all indications are that he will be good to go Sunday in Salt Lake City.

But there is something else going on with DeRozan these days.

His career earnings are about $230 million, he became the 50th player in NBA history this season to reach the 20,000-point milestone and now he has six All-Star Games on his résumé.

He admitted, however, that he has reached the point in his career where he knows there’s one thing that has eluded him and that the clock is ticking.

When NBA careers are evaluated, championship rings are the difference between ordinary and legendary.

DeRozan has 63 playoff games under his belt and reached the Eastern Conference finals with the Raptors in the 2015-16 season before the team lost to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in six games.

That was painful enough. But the real anguish would come three seasons later. By that time, DeRozan had been traded to the Spurs and had to watch Kawhi Leonard lead the Raptors to the NBA title in their first season without him.

There has been a lot for DeRozan to reconcile since then, and a championship would enable him to get past it.

‘‘I think the older I get, the more that motivation for a championship grows because you have even a smaller window of knowing how long you might play this game,’’ DeRozan said. ‘‘That’s just the reality of it for me. With that, every morning I get up, you think about that.

‘‘I always tell the young guys now that it’s terrifying for me. . . . I mean, you look at them and let them know there’s only X amount of games left in the season. They look at you like you’re crazy because I understand that once those games are up — playoff, no playoff, whatever happens — I’ve got to get ready for my 15th year. Then maybe that one flies by, and it’s my 16th year. The reality of it kicks in.

‘‘I always look at everything with the idea that as long as I’ve got time, I’ve got an opportunity. Until it’s done, I’ll deal with those feelings then. When it’s all said and done, I hope I can lay at home and say: ‘Whether that championship happened or not, I gave everything I had. Some things are meant to be, some things are not meant to be.’ That’s what I’ll have to deal with.’’

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