Derrick Rose: All Glory is Fleeting

The Chicago Bulls star point guard has suffered another season-ending knee injury.

By Robert Moeller Published on February 27, 2015

There was some disappointing news for NBA fans (especially those in Chicago) this week:

Derrick Rose is set to undergo serious knee surgery for the third time in three years. The Chicago Bulls announced Tuesday night that the star point guard and 2011 MVP will undergo surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his right knee.

Whether you follow professional basketball or not, the saga of Derrick Rose’s health problems is noteworthy. Here is a young man with freakish athletic talent who was drafted by his hometown team in 2008 at the age of 19. By his third NBA season, he was named the league’s most valuable player.

He has followed up those impressive beginnings with three season-ending injuries in a row. Fans, teammates and even many members of the sports media world are, for lack of a better term, “seriously bummed” to hear of his latest significant setback.

And while medical experts and NBA analysts can do a much better job of breaking down D-Rose’s physical breakdowns, a quote from one of my favorite films  – Patton – immediately came to mind as I read the discouraging reports out of Chicago this week.

For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph — a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning — that all glory is fleeting.

I wonder if there has been anyone in Derrick Rose’s life counseling him with similar wisdom over the past few years. Human beings are capable of doing extraordinary things with their bodies. Rose was born with a gift, but he has also been the type of competitor who works harder than anyone else on the team to improve himself.

But in the end, so much of the athletic prowess we enjoy watching (and many worship as an idol) is utterly dependent upon things far outside the athlete’s control. A small ligament. A cleat getting stuck in the turf for a moment too long.

Glory is fleeting. Health and wealth are fleeting. Whether through injury or old age, all sports stars must one day face this fact. I imagine that it is a lonely place to be.

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