A smattering of boos and a few cheers could be heard when Derrick Rose was introduced prior to the start of his first game back to Chicago on Friday night. He was booed as well the first couple of times he touched the ball.
However, Rose left the court at the end of the game with a big smile after he helped his new team the New York Knicks defeat the Chicago Bulls by 13 points.
Following the game, Rose said the boos he heard from the Chicago crowd did not bother him.
Rose scored 15 points, handed out 11 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds in the best performance he has had in a Knicks uniform.
Joakim Noah, a Rose teammate for eight seasons with the Bulls was given a big ovation when introduced. He said following the game that it had been difficult to control his emotions.
He added that there was a great deal of love in the building that he felt but he tried to remain as focused as he could on the important game he was playing.
During the game’s first timeout, Rose and Noah were given a video tribute on the scoreboard by Chicago. The video highlights showed the two at different times during their careers with the Bulls.
After the video, both players were cheered when they returned to the court following the timeout. Rose said it meant a lot to play eight seasons in Chicago as he grew up in the city.
The Chicago native was drafted in 2008 as the No. 1 pick overall by Chicago. He was the Rookie of the Year in 2008-09 and won the NBA MVP for the 2010-11 season.
However, he suffered a knee injury during the playoffs that next season and a number of other injuries during a four-year period.
In all, he played only 39% of the games following his first knee injury. Over that span, Rose was criticized for what many thought was a very cautious approach to rehab.
Rose played 66 games last season, but the Bull missed the postseason. He was traded to the Knick in June and a couple of days later teammate Noah opted to sign a free agent deal with the Knicks after playing nine seasons with Chicago.
Noah said that following the end of last season it was the right time to split up the Bulls core of players. He said that he and close friend Rose, did everything they could to win an NBA title while playing for Chicago.