Even with injuries and a lost season, Derrick Rose takes nothing for granted

“The happiness I get from going out there and playing, I do not take it for granted."

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The season hasn’t unfolded as Derrick Rose envisioned when he signed a two-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies.

At the time, Memphis was expected to compete in for a championship. Rose has appeared in 22 of the 57 games due to a persistent hamstring injury. Despite the setbacks and the team’s struggles, Rose finds value beyond just winning.

“I am a hooper,” Rose said of his love for the game. “When I am out there, I try to win the game. I am trying to get a rhythm. It’s always fun stepping between those lines. It is a safe haven for a lot of guys.”

Derrick Rose drives to the rim against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 26. (Warren Roseborough/Tri-State Defender)

Comparisons between Rose and current Grizzlies star Ja Morant are easy to make. Both stars were electrifying immediately after entering the league, known for their aggressive — and some would say “reckless” — style of play. In Rose’s days as a Chicago Bull, it won him an MVP trophy, the youngest player to ever receive the award.

But throwing his body around like that also came with a cost. Injuries kicked in, altering his career trajectory. The former MVP bounced around the league with stints in New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Detroit before signing in Memphis as a free agent last summer.

These days, he’s just happy to be able to compete.

Derrick Rose helped the Grizzlies have a disappointing night, creating problems in the paint. He finished with 25 points. (Photo: Warren Roseborough)

“It is happiness. Joy would be winning a championship because it lasts a little bit longer,” he said. “The happiness I get from going out there and playing, I do not take it for granted. Especially being older.

“I am on a team with a lot of younger guys,” he continued. “I am trying to help them with their routines, coming in with the same energy, creating that energy that hopefully can carry over to next year.”

Being in Memphis this season has been a family affair for Rose. During every pregame workout, his son is at nearly every home game. The bonding time allows his son to be a part of his journey in Memphis.

As someone who’s lived through the highs and lows of an NBA career, Rose was philosophical about how this season has unfolded.

Derrick Rose in his days with the Timberwolves.

“In the words of Confucius, (‘You have to see the beauty in everything.’) That is what we are doing now,” Rose said. “We had a lot of injuries this year, including myself. I must see beauty even in the bleakness.”

When Rose has been in the lineup, he’s averaged eight points and three assists, providing steady leadership and wisdom to the younger players. His return to action is always warmly received by Memphis fans, and his homecoming to Chicago earlier this year reminded everyone of his accolades, including his Rookie of the Year award.