I literally cried tears of joy. When the final buzzer sounded and Andre Iguodala leaped onto the scorer's table and Adam Aron's confetti fell from the rafters, 18-year-old me cried in front of 18,000 people.
I knew it was fool's gold. I knew there was absolutely zero chance the 8-seeded Philadelphia 76ers would have been able to upset the 1-seeded Chicago Bulls if Derrick Rose hadn't ripped apart his ACL at the conclusion of Game 1. We forget Joakim Noah also severely rolled his ankle in Game 4 of that series and wasn't the same the rest of the way, too.
I remember watching Game 1 in my childhood basement. Reggie Miller chastised Tom Thibodeau on TNT's broadcast for leaving Rose in the game despite Chicago leading by 12 with just over a minute remaining and the Sixers, well, being the Sixers. Hundreds of pundits echoed Miller's sentiment throughout the week. The hyper-competitive Thibs, more war general than basketball coach, was solely responsible for wearing down the youngest MVP in NBA history and left him out to dry.
Almost three years later, it's pretty clear Rose's injury wasn't Thibodeau's fault. After rehabbing all of 2012-13, he tore meniscus early on last season and went on to miss the rest of 2013-14. He underwent another knee surgery just on February 27.
Now a day before the Bulls are set to play in Philly noticeably without Rose once again, the former No. 1 pick said there's a "good chance" he can return to the court this season.
As much as I want to believe him, I unfortunately don't think Rose will, nor will he have a significant impact on the Bulls' fate this season. And what's even more unfortunate, I don't think we'll ever see Rose play like he did during his MVP season ever game.
With his resume to date, would you still take Derrick Rose No. 1 overall again, if you knew then what you know about him now?