CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose's championship aspirations weren't the only thing that crumbled to the ground Saturday afternoon when his left knee gave out. His dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal did as well.
Although nothing has been officially announced, Rose almost certainly will have to miss the London Olympics now because of the ACL tear he suffered Saturday. Rose has held to the claim that he wanted to win a championship in his hometown of Chicago over winning a gold medal, but Olympic glory was always a very close second.
Two years ago in Las Vegas during Team USA's training camp for the world championships, I asked Rose what it would mean to become one of the faces of the national team.
"That would be an honor," he said. "It would be an honor even to be on the team. But to be a face of the USA team, it would mean a lot. A lot of hard work I've been putting in this game. A lot of sacrifice and dedication. It would let me know that I can put my goals up even higher."
As for many kids, winning a gold medal was something Rose always dreamed about.
"It's a big dream," he said at the time. "Just looking at when they were playing a while back, me and my mom were [watching] them [in Beijing]. We were up around 3 a.m., 4 a.m. or something like that when the games used to come on. They used to come on real late in the morning, and we were up watching the games. And I know that everybody else was watching them, too. Hopefully when I make the team, or whenever I do make the team ... everybody will be watching me. As I was up watching them when I was younger."
Now Rose will have to focus on getting back on the floor and making the team four years from now. He will work hard with his trainer Rob McClanaghan in rehab, but it will be a tough road for the 23-year-old MVP. He wanted to represent his country this summer and has been talking about the chance for several years. Earlier this week, he was exchanging some good-natured trash talk with teammate Joakim Noah, who is expected to play for France this summer. Now Noah and the rest of Rose's teammates will have to cheer him up while they play in London.