There’s nothing sadder than watching one of the most talented athletes in any sport’s career decline.

It’s a shame when the reasons for the decline are outside choices like drugs, alcohol, crime, or a lack of financial responsibility, but those things are avoidable in a way.

Injuries are not.

Derrick Rose was the most promising draft pick the Bulls had in years and to make it even sweeter, he was a local kid from Southside Chicago.

Rose attended Simeon Career Academy and was one of the most sought after high school basketball players in the city’s long history of hoops.

He settled on playing for John Calipari at Memphis and led the Tigers to a 38-2 record – the most in the school’s history – as well as their first No. 1 ranking.

The Bulls selected their hometown superstar – who really never wanted the “superstar” moniker, just to play basketball – with the first overall pick in 2008.

The Windy City, and much of the NBA, was abuzz about Chicago having that guy for the first time since the days of Michael Jordan.

DRose lived up to the hype immediately, taking home the NBA Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend and the Rookie of the Year award in 2009.

Everything in Chicago was coming up roses. Until they weren’t.

Flip over to Page 2 to see how much fans’ support means to DRose…

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