Derrick Rose might be out of the NBA spotlight as he rehabs from knee surgery, but the Chicago Bulls star said he is trying to stay visible and offer a positive image for kids in his native Chicago, which has been plagued by its highest homicide rate in years.
"It's a different era where respect ... I know in Chicago it's a different world, for real, where respect is out the window," Rose said in a recent interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols that aired on Friday. "If you get someone to respect you that's a lot now in Chicago, especially when you're talking about kids from the age of 13 to 17. I know I'm going to try my hardest to, no matter what it is, me working hard, me writing stuff on Twitter or whatever, I'm just going to try to be positive."
Rose, 24, grew up in Englewood, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, and starred at Simeon Career Academy. After a year at Memphis, Rose was the first overall pick of the 2008 NBA draft by the Bulls.
While his Bulls teammates prepare for the season opener on Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, Rose continues to work his way back from his May knee surgery. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Game 1 of the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers and is expected to miss eight to 12 months.
Despite his absence, Rose has tried to remain visible. His rehab is being documented in a series of videos by adidas, he has been promoting a new shoe and video game, and he has used Twitter and Facebook to discuss everything from reflecting on his days at Memphis to the Chicago public school teachers' strike.
Rose also joined other NBA players last month for the PEACE basketball tournament, which united rival gang members through basketball on Chicago's South Side.
"It's definitely hard not being out (on the court), but (I'm) just making sure that people see me, see what I'm doing," Rose said. "I know people in Chicago follow everything I do. Like I said, just try to stay strong. I'm not perfect at all just like everyone else. But for these kids I'm just going to try to stay positive."
Helping that effort will be Rose's first child, a son who was born in recent weeks. Asked to describe how different his son's upbringing will be compared to his, Rose said: "He won't have to worry about finding something to eat. I try to break everything as plain as possible. He won't have to find anything to eat, and that's something I had to do when I was younger. I think that's a great start."