Fans in Englewood sad to see Derrick Rose go
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By Michael O’Brien
Teenagers Adonis Tate, Jalen McKinney and Fredrick Wilson play basketball at Murray Park just about every day in the summer. Things were different Thursday afternoon. Derrick Rose, their local hero, was no longer a Chicago Bull.
Like the three friends, Rose grew up in Englewood just steps from Murray Park. The small, one-court Chicago Park District facility was completely unknown before Rose’s rise to prominence. It’s now a permanent piece of Chicago basketball lore, the court where Rose learned the game.
Tate and McKinney had emotional reactions when they learned of the trade Wednesday.
“I was scrolling down my news feed on Facebook and saw it,” McKinney said. “At first I thought someone was lying, but then it was real. I’m really angry. [Rose] wanted to stay in Chicago and rep the city. He worked hard to get better to go and get us a ring.
“I’m still in his corner. That’s Murder Park’s finest right there. We will stick with him — he’s still from Murray Park. He made it out of the hood, and that’s what matters.”
A faction of Bulls fans seemed to turn on Rose after all of his injuries and after he made comments to the media that appeared selfish. But that view of Rose doesn’t seem to exist in Englewood.
“The trade is bogus,” Tate said. “He’s from Chicago. He lived in this area and did what he had to do. He’s always going to be respected in my eyes. He paid for funerals, did all that. He’s a great player.”
Unlike his two friends, Wilson wasn’t surprised by the deal.
“I didn’t really have any feeling when I heard,” he said. “I know it is a business and things happen. My daddy had been talking about it for a long time. We knew he was going to get traded.”
The three friends agreed they will continue to support Rose but also will remain Bulls fans.
“I’ll still watch the Bulls,” Wilson said. “That’s my daddy’s favorite team, so we sit in the house and watch the Bulls a lot.”
But not everyone is sticking with them now that Rose is gone. Larenzo Moore, an 18-year-old who attends TEAM Englewood High School, has switched allegiances.
“I’m upset,” Moore said. “I told my parents I’m now a New York Knicks fan. I understand [the Bulls] are rebuilding, but I don’t understand the process without Derrick. I was behind him 100 percent. He’s had a big impact on Englewood. It’s very hard to make it out in a positive way, so we look up to him as a leader. He gives back to the community.”
The Knicks revealed Thursday afternoon that Rose would wear jersey number 25. That’s a storied number on the South Side. Simeon’s Ben Wilson, the top player in the country, was shot and killed down the street from Simeon right before his senior season was set to begin in 1984. In the years since, the best player on the Simeon basketball team has worn Wilson’s No. 25 in tribute. That’s the jersey Rose wore in high school.
To Moore, the announcement that Rose will wear 25 with the Knicks was a message to kids in Chicago that although he’s leaving, he’s still one of them.
“It was great to see that,” Moore said. “I thought about the Simeon days and Benji.”
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