Derrick Rose is NBA's youngest MVP

Updated: May 4, 2011, 10:53 AM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is the youngest Most Valuable Player award-winner in the history of the NBA.

The 22-year-old Rose was officially announced as MVP on Tuesday after leading the Bulls to a 62-20 record and No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Rose got 1,182 points and 113 first-place votes from a panel of media voters, supplanting Wes Unseld as the youngest to win the award with a runaway win. Orlando's Dwight Howard (643 points) finished second, Miami's LeBron James was third, the Lakers' Kobe Bryant was fourth and Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant finished fifth.

The Chicago-born point guard had a breakout third season, averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds. After a summer with the U.S. National team, Rose made a significant leap.

During the Bulls' media day in September, Rose wondered aloud in front of the media why he couldn't win the MVP award. Eight months later, Rose answered his own question.

"Back in training camp when I said I wanted to be MVP, I wasn't trying to be cocky at all," Rose said Tuesday. "I knew that I put a lot of hard work in over the summer in the offseason, and I just wanted to push myself."

Rose will be honored before Wednesday's Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center.

"Very proud. He's earned it," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Tuesday. "Thrilled for him. He's been everything you could ask for in a leader, player, and he's only going to get better."

Michael Jordan was the last Bulls player to win the award. He won it five times, with the latest being 1998. Earlier in the season, Jordan said Rose deserved the award.

"I'm not even touching that man right there," Rose said of Jordan. "I'm far away from him. If anything, it would be great to be close to him. This is a different team, a different era."

Rose ended the two-year MVP reign of James, who spurned the Bulls and bolted from Cleveland to form a superstar triumvirate with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Rose also supplanted Unseld as the youngest MVP. He was 23 and was the rookie of the year and MVP with the Baltimore Bullets for the 1968-69 season.

Rose told ESPN 1000 earlier in the season if he won MVP he would give the trophy to his mother Brenda, who also has his Rookie of the Year award. On Tuesday, Rose said the plan remains the same, but he would still like to spend some time with the trophy first.

"I want to have it for at least a couple days before she steals it," Rose said. "Just give me like two or three days Mom, then you can have it."

With his family in the front row, Rose said the MVP award means a lot to his mother.

"I could win anything and she would be happy for me. It could be anything," Rose said. "She's just a strong lady and she just wants to see her kids do right. For me to win this I know it's probably unbelievable to her. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family."

Rose was supported at the MVP ceremony by numerous teammates and former Bulls, including Scottie Pippen and B.J. Armstrong, who is Rose's agent.

"We're all happy," Luol Deng said. "We're all excited. Not just how good he is on the court, but he's just a great kid. He deserves it. Just what he did this year and the effort he put into it. Like I said before, whenever one of us wins it's just really a good feeling. We all feel great. As good as he is, you just feel like you did something. We're just so happy for him."

It's been a rapid, steady climb for a player who came into the league with soaring expectations. The Bulls drafted him with the No. 1 pick in 2008 after defying 1.7-percent odds to win the lottery.

"I'll never forget the morning after we got that pick where we got the entire management staff together to meet," general manager Gar Forman said.

They knew then who they were picking.

And when they started talking to him, Forman said, "It was obvious to us that not only was Derrick a very special talent, but he possessed the intangibles that you need to become a very special player in this league. Going into that draft, I remember our feeling was this is too good to be true."

Now?

"Our feeling is still this is really too good to be true," Forman said.

Rose, who was named rookie of the year after being drafted No. 1, started his first All-Star Game this year after making the team as a reserve last season.

He carried a team that saw its top two big men, Carlos Boozer and Noah, miss significant time with injuries. His fellow starting guard Keith Bogans averaged just 4.4 points per game. Still, the Bulls never lost more than two games in a row.

"Well deserved," Boozer said. "I've been shouting his praise all season for what he's been able to do for our team. I'm proud of him, he deserved it."

Rose's MVP candidacy was criticized by some, but not by his teammates. After Rose scored 30 in a 97-81 win over Boston in early April, Noah said, "If this game doesn't put the stamp on the MVP vote, I don't know what else you can say."

Rose ranked seventh in scoring and 10th in assists, making him the only player this season in the top 10 in both categories. The only other Bulls player to do that was Jordan in 1988-89, when he led the league in scoring (32.5 points) and finished 10th in assists.

Throw in a 4.1 rebounding average, and Rose joins another elite group. He's the seventh player in league history to average at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds, along with Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Wade and James, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In the postseason, he's been just as impressive.

He scored 39 and 36 points in the first two playoff games against Indiana. Then he shook off two sub-par performances -- not to mention a sprained left ankle -- to score 25 points in Game 5 as the top-seeded Bulls closed out what had been a tight first-round series with a 116-89 victory.

Thibodeau won the Coach of the Year award Sunday. The two became the 12th duo in NBA history to win both awards.

"He's humble, he's coachable. It doesn't matter if the 12th man on the team says something to him, he's going to look you in the eye and listen to you and nod his head and try to do it better," teammate Kyle Korver said. "That's just the kind of guy he is. And that is so rare. That is so rare. So to be on his team, to watch him grow this year, he's really matured as a [player]. And he's still raw. He can still get a lot better. That's the scary thing. And he will because he works really hard. And he's got great people around him, coaching him, and helping him out."

ESPNChicago.com's Jon Greenberg and Nick Friedell contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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