You may not think that having the Bulls' Derrick Rose featured on the new cover of Sports Illustrated is a big deal -- after all, he's the consensus MVP of the NBA and has led the Bulls to the top record in the Eastern Conference and a chance still to have the best record in the league after tonight's season-ending regular season games.â†µâ†µ
However, this is the first time in 12 years that a member of the Bulls has graced SI's cover -- since, of course, Michael Jordan. It's been a long road back for the Bulls to this kind of play and dominance over other NBA teams.â†µâ†µ
The article linked to the cover photo of D-Rose is titled "Small Ball"; it's about Rose and a number of similarly-sized point guards who are leading their team to new, um, heights. Among the praises the writer sings of Rose:â†µâ†µ
The 6'3", 190-pound Rose is the new face of this imposing generation. With his consistency from the three-point line this season, defenders must now close out on his jump shots, which in turn opens up a frightening array of options. Rose can either power in and pull up, or slash between defenders like a skier slaloming at KitzbÃ¼hel, bursting through the lane and either finishing at the basket or creating open shots for forwards Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. Rose's humble point guard instincts make him especially dangerous because he is so clearly interested in propelling the team more than building up his own stat line. His dazzling skills have transformed Chicago and made him a threat as dangerous (almost) as the young Michael Jordan a quarter century ago.â†µâ†µ
Rose said at the beginning of training camp, "Why can't I be MVP of the league?" It seemed an idle boast, but he's backed it up with performance, and now he's rewarded with an SI cover -- the first, it would seem, of many to come.