Peering down from the six championship banners of the Jordan era, all felt right for the folks in downtown Chicago as their star fittingly was the last player announced during player introductions.
After all, this is where Rose belongs: It’s his Chicago Bulls team.
Thursday night, Rose once again proved as much against the New York Knicks.
With 10.8 seconds left and Chicago trailing by one point, the Bulls inbounded to Jimmy Butler, who found Rose on the right side of the court.
Rose went baseline.
Raymond Felton trailed him.
Tyson Chandler stepped up.
And Rose went over all of them, with an arc shot that should, in the eyes of skeptics, mark the beginning of a new dawn for Derrick Rose.
“For me, I hope to change my game,” Rose said to a throng of reporters.
Before he knocked home what turned out to be the game-winning basket with 5.7 seconds left, Rose had what would have been categorized a bad shooting night. To that point, he had connected on just 2-of-8 shots outside the paint and just 6-of-22 shots overall.
On the surface, sure: Numbers, they don’t lie.
But deep beneath the exterior, at the core of the failure to convert the contorting layups that were oh-so routine the last time he took the court, there is a player who knows that in time there will be less disappointing shooting nights and more astonishing moments like the one he provided at the end of his welcome-back party.
“I’m not gonna continue to miss the shots that I’ve normally missed,” explained Rose. “I’ve worked too, too hard for that.”
Indeed, he has.