For the living large, but mama I ain’t done yet/sit back and watch your sun rise/kick back and know your son set — J. Cole, Beautiful Bliss
Eight seconds of silence. Yesterday afternoon, as Derrick Rose reminded us all that the NBA is in a set of more than capable 22-year-old hands, there were eight seconds of silence that spoke louder than all of the words delivered by Gar Forman, Tom Thibodeau and even Rose himself. Those eight seconds came after he said he wanted to thank his mother.
Those eight seconds were eight necessary moments — Joy, peace, pride, recollection, recognition, honesty, gratitude, and love. So much love. Eight seconds that felt like a lifetime, eight seconds that showed 22 years worth of respect, honor and unconditional love.
While Rose spoke for four minutes and 10 seconds — a lifetime of conversation for him — he said all that he needed to with those eight seconds. His voice crackling with emotion, Rose spoke the name of the most important person in the room yesterday.
The lady who raised Rose, pushed and praised, disciplined and believed in him. The woman who used her strength and structure and support to shield Rose from danger, and keep him on the right path. The woman he calls his heart and the woman who gave him his.
While we should probably congratulate Derrick on being named the 2010-2011 NBA MVP before we go any further, we also need to extend our thanks to the lady mentioned above. Thank you for raising a son who recognizes that there is so much more to this world than basketball, even if basketball is the orbit of his.
Thank you for giving us a superstar who is not what we expect in superstars, nor what we’ve grown accustomed to having. A superstar that loves this game so much and works so ridiculously hard at his game, but also at trying to play the game the right way. At being a great teammate and an athlete who goes about his business without much fanfare, but with lots of focus. A superstar who does not care about Twitter followers or social opinion. A superstar who understands the importance of keeping pieces of his private life personal, for keeping basketball as the first priority always and for seeing the bigger picture when so many forget.
“And, last but not least, I want to thank my mom.” Saving the best for last. Amen. Thank you, Brenda Rose.
And, thank you Derrick Rose. At 22 years old, you’re the youngest to do it. As anyone who has ever watched you dominate an opponent and turn in a stunning performance knows, your postgame interviews are the exact opposite of your game. While your work on the court is all kinds of thrilling, taking you away from those 94 feet, talking to you outside of those 48 minutes — well, it’s kind of boring.
Because of this, I was extra interested in seeing what your acceptance speech would be. Excited to see the youngest MVP of the league that I love be handed the regular season crown. What I wasn’t expecting was for that speech to immediately vault into first place in my list of MVP acceptance speeches. Seriously.
Thank you. Not for your basketball brilliance, but for being a good son. I know, not the normal thing for a member of the media to say, but you got me. Those eight seconds rocked me and floored me and stunned me. A day later, they still do.
“And last but not least I want to thank my mom … Brenda Rose. My heart, the reason that I play the way that I play. Just … everything. Just knowing that days that I don’t feel like going into practice, or I’m having a hard time. I think about her when she had to wake me up, go to work and just making sure that I’m alright, making sure the family is alright, those are hard days. My days shouldn’t be hard because I love doing what I’m doing and that’s playing basketball. You keep me going every day and I love you and I appreciate you being in my life.”
Moms always get me. Those eight seconds, the love and admiration and appreciation you have for your mom, I have the same for mine. I wish everyone did. I’m learning, unfortunately, that this isn’t always the case. For me, being raised by a single mother since the age of three, when my father was killed in a boating accident, like you, my mother is my everything.
I wouldn’t be here without her. And while my here is not quite the NBA’s grandest stage, it’s my dream and my stage. The words you spoke to your mom yesterday were the most valuable words spoken in a ceremony of memorable sentences. The smile on your mother’s face made me feel so much happiness, joy, and pride for her. I also felt thankful. Thankful to know that she won’t ever have to work or worry another day in her life.
“My mom … I could win anything and she would be happy for me. It can be anything. She’s just a strong lady and just wants to see her kids do right and for me to win this, I know it’s probably unbelievable to her but it means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family.”
I think that sometimes people lose sight of how amazing it has to be to know you’ve changed the lives of your family forever thanks to a gift and a dream and a lot of hard work. A game can change the future for your family. That has to be the greatest gift. The tears of pride streaming down your mom’s face made me think of my mother, also proud. Proud of me, proud of the daughter she’s raised. The difference here, of course, is that my job doesn’t allow me to retire my mother. She is working in a grocery store where she comes home from long days at work to read my stuff — Hi Mom, I love you — and to learn what Twitter is so she can keep up with me. Sometimes I wish I’d be able to give her the gift you’ve given yours, but words like yours remind me that I’m doing alright, because just like your mom, I know that mine is proud of me.
On a day of celebration for an accomplishment you dreamed up months ago, thank you for giving all of us something to remember. Only days before the official day set aside for recognizing our mothers, thank you for reminding us all that one day isn’t ever enough. Thanks for giving your everything on the floor each night, but also, for showing us the person who means everything to you.
Congratulations, Rose family.