Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Don’t get me wrong. I love football and hockey. But one sport is missing from the fall trifecta: basketball.

For all the Bulls fans, prescription the regular season begins Tuesday, when the team travels to Miami to square off against Lebron and the Heat. And while the Heat will be getting their rings, it’s clear that all eyes will be on this week’s HAM of the Week, Derrick Rose. D.Rose had been out for all of last season when he tore his ACL during the 2012 NBA Playoffs. And we, like the rest of Chicago, are all VERY excited for his return.

Derrick Rose, http://sportsillustrated.com

The 25-year-old was destined to be a basketball star from the start. And though he was cleared to play as early as January of this year and even suited up for practice, he wanted to make sure he was 110% ready to get back in the game. And judging by his flawless undefeated preseason performance, we’re ready.

Born and raised in Englewood on the southwest side of Chicago, the 6’3”, 220 lbs point guard, nicknamed “Pooh” for his resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh as a baby, showed off his basketball skills as early as elementary school. He took those skills to Simeon Career Academy, where he helped the school win back-to-back state titles. He was named Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, and was named to the USA Today All-USA Today Team, selected to the 2007 Parade Magazine All-America Team, and was heavily scouted as a top-five recruit among many scouts’ lists, all before he finished high school.

Rose continued his superstar athleticism at the University of Memphis. During his freshman year, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He led the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament, and eventually made it to the championship game. Though they lost, Rose felt it was time to turn pro, entering the NBA draft soon after the championship game. The Bulls drafted Rose as the number one seed in the first round.

Derrick Rose, http://espn.go.com

Rose exceeded expectations in his rookie season, averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds, which was enough for him to earn Rookie of the Year in 2009. But that’s not all.

He led the Bulls to back-to-back (and back-to-back again) NBA Playoffs, and was awarded the MVP Award along the way in 2011, the league’s youngest in NBA history.

And now that he’s a dad (to son PJ, 1, with ex-girlfriend Mieka Reese), we think he’s definitely had a change of heart for the game. He split with Reese, so that means he’s officially available! But for right now, we’ll continue to admire him from afar.

 

Entering his sixth season, Rose has grown to become a leader on and off the court. Though he’s more of the soft-spoken players, he’s physically and emotionally hard on himself as a player, a turn-on that this HAM hunter has expressed admiration for. While some critics viewed Rose’s decision not to return as not his best move, especially during the last year’s playoffs while some of his teammates fought through injuries and illnesses, Rose did what any other celebrity does—he ignored the outside media. Rose’s real star quality is that he puts his team first, something that definitely ups the ante in his HAM-ness.

When he’s not off promoting brands like Adidas and Powerade on his website, Rose is probably listening to the likes of Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar, and we love that Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” is on his SkullCandy playlist. We love that true motivation!

Rose created a Twitter account (@DRose) during his time away from the court last season, although he hasn’t tweeted much since his return. His Facebook fan page is where he gets the most social media traffic, posting pictures and status updates on his readiness to be back in the UC for the 2013-2014 season.

His character has grown immensely, as evident in this interview with USA TODAY:


D. Rose has proved he’s back and ready to roll, and we’re in awe of his belief and confidence to be better than ever.  We can’t wait to see him in action.

As an added bonus, D. Rose and co. will be back at the UC on Thursday for the home opener. No tricks, just treats.

About the author: Hannah Gettleman is a native of the Northern Chicago suburbs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012 and attended every home Illini football game. Her love of Chicago sports comes from her dad, who has been in the same Fantasy Football league since she was six years old, and her mom, who plays in a 5-0 football pool. She’s also won the family March Madness pool four times in a row. An avid Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs fan, she’s excited to share her love of sports and cute guys as the newest HAM Hunter. When she’s not glued to the television on Sundays, Hannah follows the latest in entertainment and red carpet fashion, and makes delicious Betty Crocker brownies. You can follow her at @hgettle12.

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