D. Rose helps unveil restored basketball courts

September 27, 2011 3:31:38 PM PDT
The NBA's Most Valuable Player returned to the place where he learned to play basketball Tuesday on Chicago's South Side.

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was at the Murray Park playground in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood to help unveil some newly restored courts.

Rose teamed up with Powerade, Adidas and McDonald's to make it happen. It was Powerade that paid for the majority of redoing the court.

Rose spent his entire childhood on the courts at Murray Park. He is hoping the next generation of Englewood kids will do the same.

In Englewood, the NBA's Most Valuable Player is known as "Pooh." Rose says people at Murray Park still call him that.

Rose says, despite his fame, he will never forget where it all started.

"After I'd get done with my work at school, come out here and just play on the court all day, every day," said Rose. "Wake up early in the morning around 7, come out here to play on the weekends."

Without the basketball court at Murray Park, Rose says he never would have gone on to lead Simeon High School to a state championship or become a Chicago Bull.

Now, with a brand new $20,000 court, Rose hopes other kids living in Englewood will have the same opportunity.

"Hopefully it gives them hope," Rose said. "That's the biggest thing. If they look at me, look at the court, they can just see, no matter if they play sports, even if they don't play sports, no matter what they love to do, just make sure that they dedicate their selves to it, and they're gonna have to sacrifice something to be successful."

In a community is lost among vacant lots, boarded up homes and crime, community groups say a refurbished basketball court is a start, but it will take much more.

"Basketball is not the end all," said Jacques Conway of Teamwork Englewood. "We need accountants, architects, doctors, scientists, someone to find a cure for AIDS and cancer. I believe those persons are somewhere in the midst of the dyings and the rough in this community."

But, for now, the court at 73rd and Wood is the diamond in the rough.

"Everybody watches Derrick Rose play, and he's fixed up the park for us to come up here and play on, so I think it gives everybody the opportunity to have fun, stay safe," said Englewood resident Devonte McCool.

Safety is exactly what Rose and others hope the court will provide.

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