Freshman Year at Memphis – “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”

Image via ESPN

I’m on a meal-ticket mission, want a mil’, so I’m wishin’
Competition got me ripped, on that bulls**t they stressin’

Following a stellar high school career at the famed Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, Rose spurned the University of Illinois and joined head coach John Calipari at the University of Memphis. In his lone year as a Tiger, Rose led Memphis to the Final—where they eventually lost to Kansas—and was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award. A one-and-done player, Rose tore through the NCAA ranks with his dream of making the NBA (and the paychecks that come along with it) as his central focus.

Rookie of the Year – “All Eyez on Me”

Image via Galleryhip

The futures in my eyes, cause all I want is cash and thangs
A five-double-oh – Benz flauntin’ flashy rings

Rose lived out every kid’s dream when he was selected No. 1 overall by the hometown squad at the 2008 NBA Draft. Growing up in one of the roughest parts of Chicago, Rose now had everything he could ask for…except a championship ring. The 20-year-old earned Rookie of the Year honors and was beginning a career that had Bulls fans hopeful that the Larry O’Brien Trophy would return to the Windy City for the first time since Michael Jordan retired.

MVP Award – “Picture Me Rollin’”

Image via ESPN

Full grown, finally a man, just schemin’ on ways
to put some green inside the palms of my empty hands
Just picture me rollin

Rose’s 2010-11 season stacks up as one of the best in Bulls history, which is saying something. While leading the Bulls to a 60-plus win season for the first time since 1997-98, Rose joined Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only players to rack up at least 2,000 points and 600 assists in a single season. At 22 years old, Rose had battled through the trenches of the NBA and became the youngest MVP in league history. Entering the prime years of his career, all eyes were on him just like ’Pac in ’96.

ACL Tear – “Me Against The World”

Image via CBS Miami

Always do your best, don’t let the pressure make you panic
And when you get stranded
And things don’t go the way you planned it
Dreamin’ of riches, in a position of makin’ a difference
Politicians and hypocrites, they don’t wanna listen

If I’m insane, it’s the fame made a brother change
It wasn’t nothin’ like the game
It’s just me against the world

After battling injuries all season long, Rose tore his ACL during the final minutes of Game 1 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Philadelphia. The next year was the most trying of Rose’s basketball career. While recovering and rehabbing, the former MVP faced outside pressure from numerous places to come back early, and with the game taken away from him, it was one of the loneliest times he’d experienced. Everything Rose had worked for had been stripped away, but what people didn’t see were the countless hours that he put into his return.

The Return – “R U Still Down? Remember Me”

Image via ESPN

I wrote this for my critics and my, enemies
Last year ya used to love me, huh REMEMBER ME

Rose faced intense scrutiny when he chose to sit out the entire 2013 Playoffs despite being medically cleared to play in March of that year. In his absence, the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the Miami Heat. Many believe that had Rose returned for the Playoffs, the Bulls had a realistic shot at reaching the NBA Finals. Rose’s return became the talk of the 2013 offseason and the point guard played in his first game since April 28, 2012 during a preseason contest on October 5, 2013 against the Pacers. A season removed from an MVP performance, Rose was back, giving his city hope.

Another Knee Injury – “So Many Tears”

Image via NY Times

I suffered through the years, and shed so many tears

Unfortunately, Rose’s season was cut short once again on November 22, 2013 when he tore his right knee meniscus in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Suffering two season-ending knee injuries in three seasons, Rose was battling his own body to continue his career. While the meniscus injury was not as severe as the ACL tear, D-Rose still decided to shut it down for the year.

FIBA Gold Medal – “No More Pain”

Image via ESPN

Heart of a soldier with a brain to teach your whole nation
And feelin no more pain

Playing in his first competitive basketball since November of 2013, Rose entered Team USA training camp in the summer of 2014 with the eyes of the basketball world on him. What the world saw was a healthy Derrick Rose playing pain-free and starting to show flashes of his old explosive self. Rose made the FIBA team and helped lead the squad to a gold medal in Spain. While his stats weren’t anything noteworthy, just the fact that Rose was able to play competitive basketball for an entire summer—while experiencing no setbacks—was a huge step forward into getting back to MVP form.

The Return 2 – “Guess Who’s Back”

Image via CBS Chicago

Guess who’s back, comin’ back with the track supplied
by Special Ed and Ak, comin’ right and exact
I’m fightin’ it back, now snap, where they at?
When it’s time to go to combat, guess who’s back

The Chicago Bulls entered the 2014-15 season with visions of a championship. With Pau Gasol in the fold and a healthy Rose back, Chicago had the look of a contender. By January, Rose looked like he was returning to form after averaging 20.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists for the month. But fate struck again when it was announced that he had injured his knee following a game against the Bucks—a game in which he went 1-13 for 8 points in 33 minutes.

Yet Another Setback – “Keep Ya Head Up”

Image via Bleacher Report

And even though you’re fed up
Huh, ya got to keep your head up

Rose is back in rehab following surgery on his right knee. He is scheduled to be out for four-to-six weeks. At this point, it would be understandable if he threw in the towel, but based on the way he has come back in the past, he will likely work like crazy to get back on the court—whether it be for this year’s playoffs or for opening night of the 2015-16 season. Say what you will about his career to date, but how many people do you know that could stay this positive and keep their head held high through all these setbacks? Exactly.

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