First and foremost, I hope that everyone reading this is safe and healthy. While we miss live sports, it is a great time to reflect on what makes these games so special. As we navigate through these strange times, let’s take a look back at the NBA’s strangest stories like the time…
Derrick Rose Disappeared
Derrick Rose first burst onto the national stage as a freshman at the University of Memphis. Under then-coach John Calipari, Rose and the Tigers went 38-1 only to lose to Kansas in the National Championship game. However, Rose departed for the NBA after just one season.
Once in the NBA, Rose played for his hometown Chicago Bulls. He was an immediate impact player leading the Bulls to the playoffs. During the 2010-2011 season, Rose averaged 25 points per game and became the NBA’s youngest MVP. Unfortunately, horrible knee injuries plagued Rose. In fact, he only played 49 games over the next three seasons, due to injury.
In 2016, the Bulls traded Rose to the New York Knicks, after seven years in Chicago. Shortly after the trade, former Bulls teammate and close friend Joakim Noah joined Rose in New York. Nearing the mid-point of the season, Rose averaged 17.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 33 games for the Knicks. By January 9th, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks held 17-20 record for first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek. That’s where our story begins.
On January 9th 2017, the Knicks hosted the New Orleans Pelicans. However, shortly before tip-off, the Knicks announced that Derrick Rose was out of the starting line-up. Through a vague tweet, the Knicks PR team stated that Rose was not with the team. Immediately, this caused confusion because Rose had not been listed on the team’s injury report. Additionally, he had not asked the team for time off, and was not responding to teammate and coach’s calls.
Brandon Jennings filled in for Rose and led the Knicks with 20 points. Ultimately, the confusion about Rose’s whereabouts were too much for the team. They lost 110-96, trailing by 25 points after the third quarter. To add to the Knicks’ frustrations, both Carmelo Anthony and Kyle O’Quinn were ejected from the game.
After the game, when Noah asked about the situation he replied, “I mean, I don’t really want to talk too much about it because I don’t really know what the situation is.”
Similarly, coach Hornacek appeared to know little about the situation stating to reporters, “Right now we don’t have enough information to really give you anything,”
Following the Game
Later, details emerged that Rose had participated in team shoot-around that morning. Seemingly, Derrick Rose disappeared without notifying the team, between that morning and the game. Concerned, the Knicks sent someone to check his apartment, to no avail.
The following day, Rose explained that he had left the team to be with his mother in Chicago. However, the media wasn’t buying it. Naturally, rumors began swirling. Allegedly, Rose had grown upset with Hornecak because the coach had benched Rose during the 4th quarter of their previous two games. Both the coach and former MVP denied this was the reason behind Rose’s mysterious disappearance.
Following the 2016-2017 season, Rose quickly left New York and Hornacek. He signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he continued to struggle with injuries. Later that season, Rose was traded to the Utah Jazz and released immediately. Shortly after, Rose found a home in Minnesota, where he reunited with former Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau.
Former Bulls players and teammates of Rose, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, had also landed in Minnesota. On Halloween night 2018, Rose returned to his MVP form when he scored a career-high 50 points. Coming off a resurgence in Minnesota, Rose signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Pistons.
Conversely, Hornacek remained the Knicks coach for one more season. In his second season, the Knicks regressed to win only 29 games. In 2018, A physical altercation occurred during a practice between the coach and Rose’s friend Joakim Noah. The Knicks fired Hornacek in April of 2018, and he has not coached in the NBA since.
As for the New York franchise, Rose’s lone season with the Knicks ended with a record of 31-51. They finished 12th in the East, missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Including that infamous game against New Orleans, the Knicks ended the year with a record of 14-31 after Derrick Rose disappeared.
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