Derrick Rose? Sure he is a humble, “home grown” player and outstanding young man. He managed to keep his nose clean through some of the tougher Chicago streets and make it to the NBA. Very admirable. These three have their own stories, their own struggles. They battled inner demons and matured, not only great players, high quality young men.
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls: Not many people remember, when Joakim first came to town, he was so disliked by his own teammates, they voted to give him an extra suspension when he got disciplined. He also had a minor brush with the law down in Florida. “Joe” has come a long way since then. He is the emotional leader of the Bulls. His strength and work ethic is impressive.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: “Kaner” was the typical party boy when he got to Chicago. The uber-talented, good looking “hockey prince” was caught many times in the “Big city” party scene. A few times without his shirt on. Somewhere in the last two years he has made strides to mature and become focused on his craft. During the NHL lockout, he went off to play with the Swiss team to work on his game. He took his Mom with him. I don’t know if this was the move, but he seemed to be more focused and help lead the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup championship in two years.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears: I have been following Brandon closely since he came into the league. I remember seeing him at the NFL combine. I hoped the Bears would draft him. They didn’t. I look back now and I think I’m glad. Had Brandon come here at that point, he probably would have flamed out–at least here. As a Broncos fan, I shook my head when they traded him to Miami. I knew of his troubles. I only knew the very surface of what he was going through. Just what you read in the paper. When he came out in Miami and told the world about his fight with Borderline Personality disorder, I admired his courage and pulled for him even more. The next year, when GM Phil Emery traded for him, I knew it was a good move for the team. I was blown away buy his professionalism and maturity. Last season, he took 2nd year WR Alshon Jeffery under his wing and helped him become an All-Pro wide receiver. Yesterday, he signed a 3 year extension with the Bears. The first thing he announced was a $1 million dollar donation to “the mental health community”. I could not be more proud for him and his family and anyone who crosses his path. He’s not perfect, by any means. None of us are. He’s overcome a lot though, to be where he is. Something many of us struggle with at times.