The Gamer Blog
Bulls phenom Derrick Rose talks video games, custom systems and crossing up Andre Miller.
"Why you gotta play me like that, Derrick?"
Remember when hitting the Turbo and Steal buttons in NBA Jam would send opponents flying to the floor? That's what Derrick Rose's wicked crossover of Andre Miller last November reminded me of.
"Don't say that, man," Rose laughs when I tell him the move looks like it's straight from an arcade cabinet. "It was just a basketball play. I made a simple move and he went for it."
Rose might call the play simple, but if Dwyane Wade is "Flash," the kid they call "Pooh" is Quicksilver on the court, making even the simplest moves so fast, so fierce, that defenders are left hoping the latest highlight doesn't end up on YouTube for millions of speed freaks to download.
And it's Rose's speed that earned him the trophy at the PlayStation Skills Challenge over All-Star weekend, a competition Rose had never really seen until he played the virtual version in Sony's NBA 09: The Inside just a few hours before the event.
"I'm glad I played the game earlier," he told me after he won. "It helped."
As for the big dunk to close the contest, was Rose in the wrong event Saturday night? Should he have been taking on Kryptonite and Superman?
"No, not at all" he says. "I can jump but I'm not creative."
Here's what else Rose had to say as I sat with him inside the PlayStation player's suite during NBA All-Star weekend as Sony designed a custom red PS3 for him with the name "Pooh-1" laser-etched across the top.
Mag.com: What's your favorite type of video game to play?
Derrick Rose: I'm big into the shooting games. Call of Duty and Rainbow Six: Vegas.
Do you play as the Bulls in NBA 2K9?
I actually play as the Lakers. I always play against my best friend Randall. He's got game, he can play a little bit, so I use the Lakers with Bynum and Gasol and try to establish that inside presence on him.
They're designing your custom PS3 right now as we speak. Does the color matter?
It don't really matter as long as I don't get pink. Don't give me pink or purple. [laughs]
Your first year in the league and you already have one of the top selling jerseys, people are playing as you in the video games, how does it feel to get so famous so fast?
It feels good to know that fans really like my game and that I'm marketable like that. I never really thought that coming in, that I'd have the chance to be this marketable, but it's happening.
Is the next step in your marketing blitz to be on the cover of Live or 2K?
Only time will tell, but hopefully I will. As a kid, you always want to be in that position. One day, I hope that comes true.
They even have all of your tattoos in the game. Which one's your favorite?
I have my mom's name on my hand. I see it every time I shoot.
Growing up, how important was it for your development to have three older brothers looking out for you in the neighborhood and teaching you your game?
They were huge. They always stayed on top of me, steering me the right direction so that I wasn't going to parties or going out that much. They made sure I went to school and just took care of business.
Did they teach you your ambidextrous ways?
I actually broke my right arm when I was younger, so I kept working on my left hand. That's how I got like that.
It's almost like that movie Rookie of the Year where the kid breaks his arm and gets stronger.
Remember when he messed it up again at the end? As long as that doesn't happen to me. [laughs]
Sony took good care of Rose after he won the skills challenge.
That was a long time ago. I think you're safe.
Do you feel a lot of pressure being the first pick and trying to live up to expectations?
It feels good. I get to stay in my hometown, there's no pressure, my family gets to see me and I'm playing against the best competition in the world. Every night, someone is going to come after you because you're the first pick and that makes the game competitive.
Your agent is former Bull BJ Armstrong. What advice has he given you about life in the NBA?
The best advice he gave me was don't be scared to make a mistake. When you're young, coming in and starting, you're going to make mistakes, but don't be scared, you'll learn from them. To use as an example, look at LeBron James. When he came in young, he made his mistakes, but now look at him. There was a growing process and hopefully I can be at his status someday.
Growing up in Chicago, were you a fan of Armstrong's game?
BJ was a good point guard, a good shooter and he could score anytime he wanted to, but he also had Michael Jordan on his side. [laughs] He was a smart, good point guard.
In college, everyone always talked about all the candy you ate. Does all that sugar make you faster?
I calmed down a little bit. It can wear on you a little bit, I know in college it did. I needed to make some adjustments when I made it to the NBA, energy-wise, so I started to eat good.
Any candies you can't quit?
Twizzlers. I have Gummi Bears here and there, but I mainly eat Twizzlers.
What's the one part of your game you need to work on in order to help the Bulls make a playoff run?
I need to work on my all-around game. Of course I'm a scoring point guard, but I've got to work on my dribbling. I need to get smarter about my decisions and I need to get a little more vocal. As a point guard, you need to be vocal. You need to be like a coach out on the court, you need to be the leader. Another thing, when I drive to the hoop, I need to make all of my layups. That's a big thing, being able to finish.
And it never hurts when the defender trips over himself because you're so fast.
That's messed up. [laughs]
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