DEERFIELD, ILL. (AP) - Derrick Rose was going down the list, thanking just about everyone who helped him become one of the NBA’s best players, when he looked to his right.
Seated off to the side was his mother, Brenda.
“I think I can finally say this now. Mom, I finally made it,” he said.
It’s fair to say Rose made it long before this latest news conference. The extension is just another stop in a rapid and steady rise from a tough neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side to a starring role with his hometown team after being taken with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
He’s gone from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in just three seasons, becoming the youngest player to win the award. That’s why the extension was more a formality than a surprise.
The only thing missing from his resume is a championship and that’s something he hopes to change in Year 4.
“He embodies all the characteristics that you look for,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a lot more than the talent. The talent is the obvious part. Then, when you look at his will to win, basketball IQ, unselfishness, his humility _ I think those are the things that you can build a championship-caliber team around.”
The Bulls came close to winning it all last year, leading the league with 62 victories during the regular season and advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to Miami.
That capped a spectacular season in which Rose showed up for camp wondering why he couldn’t be MVP after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh turned down Chicago to unite in Miami. Then, he backed it up with one of the best seasons by a point guard.
He averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds over 81 games, the only NBA player last year to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and assists. He also became just the fifth player in history (along with Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Michael Jordan and James) to post 2,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds in a single season
He keeps adding new wrinkles to his game, too. In the past, he extended his shooting range. This past offseason, he worked on his post moves.
The extension could bring some more pressure.