CHICAGO -- While everyone from coast to coast has taken notice of what Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has done on the court, his brother Reggie has been most impressed by how Derrick has matured beyond his 22 years.
A big part of the maturation process has been reflected in Derrick's interaction with the media and public in general. A recent example was Derrick addressing a room of over 2,000 supporters for President Obama at a Thursday fundraiser.
"It means a lot to see him do interviews and interact with people," Reggie said. "He's come out of his shell. Derrick Rose is showing everyone who he truly is. He's grown up and opened up."
And he's grown into the prohibitive favorite for MVP.
"What's changed is the leadership role he shows," Reggie said. "He's more vocal. The team takes a loss, and he says it won't happen again. He takes the blame. That's what the great ones do."
Reggie still has plenty of responsibilities when it comes to his brother. He is Derrick's manager and runs the D-Rose All-Stars, a club high school basketball team. But this was the first season in which Reggie felt he could truly sit back and exhale while watching his brother perform.
"What's so crazy about it is I can really, really enjoy the game and not worry so much," Reggie said. "Now, I just watch the game. Basically, I've watched him not only grow as a young man, but also grow on the court as a player.
"During the Miami game [on March 6], for me to sit on the floor and see him, and have your little brother nod his head to you or smile and know how far you've come, that means a lot."
Derrick hugged Reggie -- and so did Joakim Noah -- after that win in Miami.
The Rose brothers often reflect on where their journey has taken them. Reggie remembered just three years ago sitting in their family's living room in Chicago and them being in shock that Derrick had been the No. 1 overall draft pick.
"You're saying, what's next?" Reggie said. "Then, it's the rookie of the year, and then what's next? Now, you're saying, what else is possible? Why can't I be the MVP? Now, he's so close to putting that trophy in his hands. That's crazy.
"If he doesn't get the MVP trophy, there's something wrong. If he doesn't get it, there's something political going on. I'm not saying this because he's my brother, but he's the MVP."
For nearly all of Derrick's life, Reggie has strove to protect him and give him the freedom to concentrate solely on basketball.
Reggie shielded Derrick from the media throughout his high school days at Simeon. Reggie started his own AAU team for Derrick and took control of who was around him when he traveled. All of Derrick's college recruiting went through Reggie. Nearly everything but the decisions on the court was guided by Reggie and Derrick's family.
Even in Derrick's first two years in the NBA, Reggie was hands on with his brother as he adapted to speaking to packs of reporters, choosing an agent, handling finances, signing endorsement deals and so on. Derrick was making grown-up money and asked to do grown-up things, but Reggie still knew his little brother needed his help.
This season that changed, although Reggie remains a constant fixture at Bulls games -- at home or on the road.
Reggie admitted even he couldn't have predicted his brother having such a remarkable season, but he thought he could explain how and why it occurred.
"Everything everyone told him he needed to work on and he couldn't do, this year was proving to them, ‘I can shoot. I can shoot mid-range. I can shoot 3s. I can defend,'" Reggie said. "What they said that he couldn't do, he put it on his chest and went out and did it."
Of all of Rose's games this season, the one that stuck out for Reggie was his triple-double playing without Noah and Carlos Boozer in a win over Memphis in January. As for an individual play, he had a harder time deciding.
"He does so many crazy moves these days," Reggie said. "One of the crazier moves was when he went baseline, went up with his right hand, switched it to his left and swooped in. He's jumping, jackknifing in the air, switching hands, it's just crazy to me."
And for the record, Reggie doesn't take any credit for the creation on that move.
"If I taught him that, this would probably be my 15th or 16th year in the league," Reggie said while laughing.