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GQ Profiles Derrick Rose

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 18, 2012 3:20PM

0512-GQ-CVR_med-res.jpg GQ magazine gives the Bulls superstar and reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose the cover treatment in its May issue, with a wide ranging profile.

GQ wastes no time jumping right to the comparisons with Michael Jordan, who at this point remains the greatest athlete ever to play in Chicago. While Rose has an MVP trophy and a Bulls contract worth nearly $100 million (plus a deal from Adidas worth twice that!), until he approaches the six titles MJ brought to Chicago, Rose knows the comparisons to MJ's accomplishments on the court are premature, instead using them as motivation, "His titles drive me. What’s wrong with getting close to the best person that ever played the game? I’m not scared of him; if anything, it makes me work harder when I do train."

But while MJ was the biggest star in Chicago, he wasn't from Chicago. Derrick Rose was born in here and grew up in Englewood, leaving town only for his year at Memphis before returning home. Playing for his hometown team adds additional complications to his adjustments to life as a superstar. The Chicago where Rose resides is a long way from the streets of the South Side. Rose recently moved into an 84th floor condo in Trump Tower. On top of the world. And safely ensconced from it.

Dealing with his growing celebrity and his unease with the attention was front and center in the profile, with Rose explaining:

The more you win, the more they come. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t take anything for granted. But it seems like the better I play, the more attention I get. And I can’t get away from it. You play great, you get attention. But I hate attention. It is weird. I’m in a bind.

And while some of it is fans being star struck, it's also our of a sense of watching over one of our own. Rose has become a bit of a recluse in his deluxe apartment in the sky, as his growing fame makes it harder for him to find solace off the court.

Chicago isn't used to stardom... They don't know how to act toward celebrity. So I always have someone with me. I can have a hat on, glasses on, whatever. People still notice me. If I go outside without a hat on, I feel like I'm naked.

And in that way, Rose is becoming more like Jordan was during the height of his fame, feeling trapped in his private bubble by his fame.

Of course there are additional obligations to being the biggest basketball star in Chicago when the president is also from Chicago and a huge basketball fan. Even the Barack Obama has reached out to Rose, asking him to announce him at a fund raising event. While Rose has no problem dazzling thousands of fans on the court, he was scared of speaking in front of a large crowd, "I was so nervous and scared. Just a two- or three-minute thing, but, like, thousands of people were there. I was nervous as hell...but I got it done..." But then, the two quickly rising Chicago superstars go way back. Explained Rose, “I remember when he [Obama] wasn’t our president, when I was a kid, when he’d just be walking down the street, a state senator. He was just always there. I didn’t appreciate it then."