As a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, this NBA season couldn’t come fast enough. The re-return of Derrick Rose, along with the additions of Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirtoic, and others, was enough to electrify the entire city on opening night.
While watching the Bulls thrash the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, I could not resist thinking about how special this season could be IF Derrick Rose and company could stay healthy. However, anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that health and Derrick Rose don’t go very well together.
After everything he has been through the last three years, I almost expected D-Rose to get hurt. The body can only handle so many injuries before it begins to break down. I just didn’t think it would happen a mere one and a half games into the season. While going up for a rebound against Cleveland on Friday night, Rose seemed to twist his ankle as he landed on Kyrie Irving’s foot. As Rose hobbled to the sideline, a unified “NOOOO” echoed throughout the Bulls arena as well as sheer disbelief amongst the fans.
The underlying question surrounding the Derrick Rose situation is, “Are his continual injuries due to his aggressive and sometimes out of control style of play or are they simply due to bad luck?”
In his political text The Prince, Machiavelli explains that one’s actions are determined by both free will and fortune. In Derrick Rose’s case, it seems that his repeated injuries are a result of a combination of the two, just as Machiavelli states. Derrick Rose came into the league known for his unprecedented speed and explosiveness, particularly at the rim. While these attributes have allowed him to emerge as one of the best players of his generation, they have also led to his demise. At times, his quickness and speed lead to out of control plays, which partly caused his ACL injuries. However, many people believe that his past and current injuries are also due to some bad fortune. In the world of sports, some athletes are just cursed by injuries. It doesn’t matter how hard they work, how much they rehab, or how strong they are; the injuries just continue to pile on.
Furthermore, Machiavelli goes on to say that fortune varies from one person to the next, and that even if they follow the same path, some will rise while others will fall. In the world of sports, this seems to hold true as well. For instance, both Adrian Peterson and Derrick Rose have experienced the same ACL injury. However, their paths have differed dramatically since recovering from their respective ACL tears. The year following his injury, Adrian Peterson went on to rush for over 2,000 yards, and thus completed one of the best seasons by a running back of all time.On the other hand, Derrick Rose ended up tearing his meniscus the following year in his other knee, which ended his season, and has now sprained his ankle in this young season.
As Derrick Rose continues on his quest to put his injuries behind him and get back to playing basketball, many analysts and fans are calling for him to change his style of play. According to Machiavelli, this strategy would be a wise idea, although most do not alter their ways. Machiavelli said that in order to be successful, as circumstances change men must adjust to them. However, most men stick to the ways that brought them success in the past. Derrick Rose must alter his course, as Machiavelli says, if he wants to have a successful career in the NBA. If it means scoring less points and not being as explosive, then so be it. But Derrick Rose at 75 percent is better than most at 100 percent, and the Bulls desperately need him on the floor if they want to contend for titles.
It is time that Derrick Rose adopts the mentality of an ideal Machiavellian prince before his reign as an elite player comes to an end.