Derrick Rose enjoys Obama bond
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose didn't hear President Obama's verbal jab at Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant last week, but he wasn't surprised. When told that Obama, a longtime Bulls fan, told Bryant that Rose may have his number, Rose just smiled.
... I know that if I really want to get in contact with him, I can. It would be great to have a decent relationship with the President. Especially somebody that's from here, and he's a good guy.” -- Derrick Rose
"Chicago people stick up for Chicago people," Rose told ESPNChicago.com Tuesday morning. The President initially invited Rose and the Bulls to the White House shortly after moving in to his new home in early 2009. He invited Rose and Bulls center Joakim Noah back to Washington D.C. this summer as part of his birthday celebration, during which Rose and several other All-Stars and Hall of Famers participated in a basketball game for injured troops. It was an experience Rose says he will never forget.
"Like an All-Star game," Rose said. "He brought the All-Star game to him. There were a lot of great players there. Some old All-Stars were there like Bill Russell, Magic Johnson.
"It just showed a lot of love. Everybody in his cabinet was great. They hosted it great. And everybody was just having fun there."
Rose said he and Noah spent time discussing a few different topics with Obama, a former state senator from Chicago.
"We were talking about free agency," Rose said. "We were just talking about the Chicago Bulls, just the history of [the team].
"He was just saying that he was a fan. And he wishes nothing but the best, and hopefully we'll win this year, have a winning record this year. And all the things are going good now."
Rose hasn't talked to the President since that day, but he is hopeful Obama may be able to come to a future Bulls game. The Bulls travel to Washington, D.C. to play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
"I haven't talked to him since [the game in August], but I know that if I really want to get in contact with him I can," Rose said. "It would be great to have a decent relationship with the President. Especially somebody that's from here, and he's a good guy.
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"It's not like I'm going to harass him or anything because that's not my character. But it would be cool to just hit up the President whenever you want to."
For the time being, Rose is hoping that Obama will decide to host another basketball game next year. He never got to play on the same team with Obama when they hit the floor in August.
"I didn't ever play with him," Rose said. "I played against him the whole time ... Hopefully, [I'll] play with him [next time]. He'll get me some assists or something like that."
Rose knows that it will be hard for any experience to top the one he had in August.
"I don't see how you can beat it," he said. "You get a special invite to play ball with the President. And be the first ones to do it at the White House. I don't see how you could beat that."
The 22 year-old Chicago native knows there may only be one thing that could top that: Another trip to the White House. Only this time, Obama would be honoring his beloved Bulls after winning the NBA championship, the way Obama honored the Lakers when he tweaked Bryant.
"That would be great," Rose said. "I know that he would probably come to a game. How cool would that be?"
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.