Derrick Rose gets the GQ cover

There aren’t many NBA players who are famous enough to garner the cover of GQ magazine, America’s premier men’s style glossy. Michael Jordan’s done it a bunch of times. Kobe’s done it a few and so has LeBron. Dr. J was part of a “coolest athletes” list that got him a regional cover. Off the top of my head, that’s all I can come up with and I’ve been subscribing since high school. (Whoops, just admitted that.)

But there’s a new name to add to that actually-pretty-distinguished list — Derrick Rose, who’ll be on the cover of next month’s issue. As you can obviously tell by reading this, he’s the first Bull to grace the magazine’s cover since Jordan himself, which is probably why “The Next Jordan?” is included on the cover.

This isn’t the first time Rose has been in GQ, but it’s definitely the best, as the cover photo comes with a full-on cover story from Will Leitch and photo gallery of vaguely hilarious fashion shots. The profile is chock full of amazing quotes about Rose embracing Jordan comparisons (“I’m not scared of him”), how much he dislikes the attention he gets (“This life doesn’t fit my personality”) and how he’s not like LeBron James (“I won’t ever put myself in a bad position so that people can say bad things about me”), but my favorite part of the whole thing is Leitch’s description of Rose’s mind-blowing layups. It’s one of the best elaborations of what Rose does in the air that I’ve ever read.

Simply put, Rose does things in midair leaps to the basket that break physical laws of accepted human behavior. To watch those moves in real time is to not do them justice. Rose’s brilliance is such that slow motion is required to understand what, exactly, is going on up there—the same way you need to change frame rate to comprehend fully how a gun fires a bullet or a hummingbird flaps its wings. Rose seems able to control every muscle of his body while in midair: He’s able to move past, over, and sometimes under defenders, almost always drawing contact. And he still finishes the play; Rose spins the ball on layups as if he’s bowling on ice. [...] His ability to finish is such a leap in basketball evolution that it feels like a mutation.

Isn’t that perfect? Yes, it is. We’ve all seen amazing finishes in the air, but the way Rose is able to consistently duck and dodge people while somehow still muscling the ball up to the glass while putting the amount of spin necessary to make the shot is just incredible. And then he does it again and again and again. It’s crazy. (And also a big part of the reason he doesn’t always get foul calls, because he’s too good at avoiding fouls.)

OK, this part is also pretty cool.

One Chicago icon for whom Rose does genuflect? President Obama. The famously Bulls-crazy POTUS has an open dialogue with Rose. “I know that if I really wanted him to come out and support an event I’m going to in Chicago,” Rose says, “I know it could probably get done.”

Last year, the president asked Rose to introduce him at a fund-raising event. Rose sweated it in a way he’s never sweated a game. “That was my first time ever speaking to that type of crowd,” he says. “I was so nervous and scared. Just a two- or three-minute thing, but, like, thousands of people were there. I was nervous as hell…but I got it done, and it helped me being more vocal, too, by doing that.” One difference between Rose and other athletes who have palled around with the prez is that Rose has known him since back when. “I remember when he wasn’t our president, when I was a kid, when he’d just be walking down the street, a state senator. He was just always there. I didn’t appreciate it then. I was in high school and just wanted to see rappers.”

Go read the whole article. You’ll love it, even if you’re not the biggest Derrick Rose fan in the world. He’s not the next Jordan. No one is, which is good because of the jeans MJ likes to wear now. He’s just Derrick Rose from Chicago, a quiet kid who wants to win titles, see rappers and wear hats. He seems to be more than fine with that.

(via NBC Chicago)