Sportress of Blogitude

Taj Gibson defends Derrick Rose, calls ex-teammate an ‘awesome dude’

With all the turmoil and drama surrounding Derrick Rose going AWOL earlier this week and the subsequent fallout from his disappearance, at least the New York Knicks point guard can count on one of his former teammates to go to bat for him.

Rose and the Knicks face his former Chicago Bulls squad on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Taj Gibson, Rose’s teammate on the Bulls for seven seasons, watched from afar this week as the drama unfolded. While admitting the situation was of some concern, Gibson insists all the negative things being said don’t reflect the Rose he knows.

“A lot of people misunderstand him because he’s really one of the best, one of the greatest dudes I’ve ever been around,” Gibson said after Thursday’s shootaround, via ESPN. “Off the court, personally. On the court, he’s a great guy. He’s never been negative. He’s never been as you quote, unquote say, a hater. He’s just an awesome dude, man. For real.”

Gibson added he hasn’t spoken to Rose since he left the Knicks without notice to attend to a personal situation, a decision that cost Rose $200,000. But like many others, including Rose’s current Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony, Gibson was taken aback over the perplexing situation, saying he was “surprised just like anybody else.”

Gibson feels that Rose has “grown into his own” due to all the trials and tribulations endured throughout his career, adding Rose “doesn’t really care what people think anymore.”

Rose has at times throughout his career been labeled as selfish by refusing to put the team first. He was heavily criticized in Chicago for his reluctance to push himself too hard when returning from his many injuries.

Gibson, though, believes such criticism is unwarranted.

“He’s about winning,” Gibson said. “But in this game sometimes you have to be selfish.”

How this dysfunctional mess plays out from here concerning Rose and the Knicks obviously remains to be seen. Anthony stated Rose has his teammates’ support after addressing players upon his return, which arguably corroborates what Gibson had to say about his friend.

But beyond that? It’s anybody’s guess right now.