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Derrick Rose’s emotional connection keeps his rockstar status in China afloat

Derrick Rose China

After a string of unfortunate career-threatening injuries, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose is now fighting to be relevant in a sport that considered him to be the best seven long years ago.

However, despite his dwindling influence in the league, Rose remains to be one of the biggest stars in China. This is, in most part, due to the emotional connection the 29-year-old was able to establish with a population of over one billion people.

In his piece for ESPN, Nick DePaula¬†narrates the story of how a young man from Englewood, Chicago won the hearts of the league’s largest international market.

“However, while it was his on-court success that initially drew Chinese fans to Rose, it was the emotional connection the three-time All-Star made on his annual visits that kept the fans coming back,” DePaula writes. “Rose’s continued perseverance through multiple injuries and setbacks appealed to a fanbase that hoped to emulate his relentless pursuit of success.”

The people of China, who themselves have experienced their fair share of tumultuous times, found a common ground with the meek and modest Rose.

For his part, the 2011 Most Valuable Player winner was not one bit unappreciative of all the love that was and continues to be given to him.

“Going there [for the first time], it was like [I was] Muhammad Ali,” Rose told ESPN before embarking on his recent Adidas promotional tour in China. “It just made me feel great to know that all of this came from being from Chicago. Being a kid from the Midwest, it was amazing that they were even recognizing me.”

Stories like these are what make us believe that Rose has such a big heart. This gives us all the more reason to get behind this man as he continues to face the obstacles that are set off by a past that is filled with regret.