Rose looks forward to D-Wade pairing

Two Chicago-area natives will form the East's starting backcourt in the All-Star Game. Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

A starting backcourt of Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade is something Chicago Bulls fans and management fantasized about during free agency last summer, and while it didn't materialize in Chicago, the two will form the starting tandem for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star Game.

"It's going to be crazy, man," Rose said Friday. "I've never played with him except for in the All-Star Game last year, and that was only for a little bit because I was injured. So it's going to be exciting and people should love it."

Rose has tempered his enthusiasm about being the first Bulls player to start in an All-Star Game since Michael Jordan in 1998. Part of it is modesty, and part may be the fact he's suffering through two stomach ulcers and an aching back.

"I never thought about it where I have to be on there because nobody has been on there since Jordan," he said. "I haven't really thought about it, but it's just an honor to be on the team, and I just can't wait to play in that game.

"It's great, knowing that everything's going my way right now. I feel blessed. If it wasn't for my fans, the organization, adidas, everybody playing a big role, I wouldn't have got that spot."

Rose was the Bulls' first All-Star since Jordan last season, but he was a reserve.

"This one will mean a lot," Rose said. "I said the only thing that will change is me being a starter this year. Last year I didn't start but it was a great experience. But this year I know it's going to be even better."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is happy for Rose, but the priority is simple.

"It's great," he said. "We're happy for him. But we're also concerned about what we have to do tonight. That's a priority for us."