That’s why Bryant’s death in January 2020 was so devastating. Several NBA players lost their childhood hero and the person who inspired them to pursue a basketball career.
One player who looked up to Bryant is Derrick Rose. The former Chicago Bulls superstar was lucky enough to shoot a viral commercial with the five-time champion in 2009 and shared a hilarious moment with him. However, in typical Bryant fashion, the Lakers legend made Rose pay his dues.
Kobe Bryant showed up three hours late to his commercial shoot with Derrick Rose
In September 2019, Rose revealed to Dan Patrick that Bryant showed up three hours late to their NBA 2K10 commercial shoot. The Lakers star was the cover athlete of the game, and Rose believes Bryant made him pay his dues as a young player in the NBA.
“We were having a commercial shoot and it was in like Malibu somewhere and he showed up like three hours late,” Rose said. “And I’m like, ‘C’mon man.’ But I understood where he was coming from. He made me pay my dues. I waited for three hours for him.”
The 2K10 commercial was shot a few months after Bryant led the Lakers to the 2009 championship over the Orlando Magic. It was his first title without Shaquille O’Neal, so it meant a lot to the shooting guard.
One of the funniest scenes from the Bryant-Rose commercial was when both guys were going back and forth about who had the better player in the game. Bryant said his guy had four rings, and Rose started laughing, saying he couldn’t respond back since he didn’t have any titles under his belt.
Bryant led the Lakers to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. The Black Mamba won his fifth title and second Finals MVP in the 2010 Finals by defeating the Boston Celtics in seven epic games. Meanwhile, Rose made his first All-Star team during the 2009-10 season, becoming the first Bulls player since Jordan to play in the All-Star Game.
Bryant and Rose developed a strong relationship after their commercial shoot. That’s why the latter still hasn’t gotten over the former’s death.
Kobe Bryant’s death still hurts Derrick Rose
With the help of Hall of Fame writer Sam Smith, Rose released an autobiography called I’ll Show You. In the book, the 2010-11 MVP spoke about how Bryant’s death still hurts him because the Lakers great was his example of how you can adapt your basketball game as you get older and still be effective.
“You can’t know what it was like, going through everything I had to get through with my injuries, my game, my life,” Rose wrote. “I won’t be the last Derrick Rose. But as long as I tell my story and I’m honest about it, I hope it’s going to touch a lot of people. That’s why I love Kobe so much. His death, man, that’s something that’s always going to hurt … It’s a weird feeling, ‘Oh s—, Kobe’s not here. Damn.’ I never tried to copy his moves, but just his grind and his evolution as a player. That’s what drove me.”
Since winning MVP in 2010-11, Rose has undergone four knee surgeries. Like Bryant did toward the end of his Hall of Fame career, Rose changed his game after he saw his athleticism decline to remain a high-level player.
D-Rose believes Bryant played 20 years in the NBA because he adapted his game with the times. As he got older, Kobe relied more on his deadly jump shot and elite fundamentals to dominate, and Rose is trying to emulate that.
The Black Mamba would be proud of the Windy City Assassin
Rose is no longer the fastest and most explosive player in the NBA. The Chicago native is now a more balanced basketball player. He can score from all three areas of the court due to his improved jump shot. That is something Bryant would certainly be proud to see.
In the New York Knicks‘ first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 postseason, Rose averaged 19.4 points and 5.0 assists while shooting 47.6% from the field and 47.1% from beyond the arc. He’s now beating you with his jump shot and IQ of the game, which is exactly what Bryant did as he got older and wiser.
Bryant may no longer be with us, but his legacy and spirit will never be forgotten, and players like Rose will continue to use the lessons he taught them.