By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) They share the same age (23). They share the same team colors (red and black). And they even share the same work address (1900 W. Madison).
But when it comes to their personalities – and their apparent pastimes – Patrick Kane and Derrick Rose remain worlds apart.
The former can be extroverted to the point of idiocy. The latter, introverted to the point of isolation. And besides both playing starring roles for teams at the United Center, the Blackhawks’ Kaner and D-Rose of the Bulls really couldn’t have less in common.
But is it possible that they could learn something from each other?
After a Cinco de Mayo weekend of drunken debauchery in Madison, Wis. – captured through unflattering photos posted on Deadspin.com – Kane is again under fire for his hard-partying (and, perhaps, offensive) ways. Meanwhile, Rose, who can often make a mime seem chatty, may burrow himself into oblivion as the rehab for his ruptured ACL gives him an excuse to slip even further from normal societal interactions.
By facing their own unique challenges, the careers of both Rose and Kane are at a crossroads this summer. And what path they choose to head down in the coming months could go a long way toward determining their reputations, their legacies – and even their athletic life spans – here in the Windy City.
In the hopes of getting both players pointed in the right direction, I’d thought I’d facilitate an introduction.
So, Patrick, meet Derrick. I’m certain you can learn some things from him. And Derrick, say hello to Patrick. You may actually be able to pick up a lifestyle tip or two from him, as well. Really.
Now, unless it’s for a “Perfect Strangers” reboot, I hardly expect you two guys to start hanging out around Chicago this summer. However, I don’t think it would hurt for each you to pay a little attention to the other’s actions. There are lessons to be learned from both.
Patrick, by observing Derrick, you can see what a true professional looks like. You’ll witness how a special, young athlete who’s bestowed with God-given talents (like yourself) doesn’t just rest on his gifts, but actually spends his offseasons improving them rather than improving his alcohol tolerance.
Even with his bum knee keeping him off the court for the next several months, I’m guessing that Derrick will find some way to use the free time to make himself a better ballplayer. He’s dedicated to his craft.
But Patrick? Even if you are too, you don’t appear to be. I turn 36 years old this Friday, but once upon a time, I too was 23. So I understand how 23-year-olds can do some dumb things while out bar crawling with their buddies. But you really need to wake up and realize that you’re not an average 23-year-old. Enough is enough.
Your job – which pays you handsomely – involves representing not just a proud franchise (the Blackhawks), but also a proud city (Chicago) and a proud sports league (the NHL). Because of all that, you should be expected to hold yourself to a higher standard than the average frat boy at Wisconsin.
Now, Derrick has made his own mistakes. For example, when he was photographed at a party three years ago while foolishly flashing gang signs. But he’s also an example of how a young man can learn to carry himself with dignity, no matter what town he’s in and what his age might be.
All that said, Derrick, you could learn something from Patrick, too. And you could afford to raise a little Kane in your life. Not by going out and tearing up the River North clubs, mind you, but rather by observing the way Patrick does feel at ease around crowds.
If you can develop a certain comfort level that doesn’t require you to always want to shut yourself off from the world, I think it would help your career. I know it would help your overall happiness.
Last month you told GQ Magazine, “… it seems like the better I play, the more attention I get. And I can’t get away from it. You play great, you get attention. But I hate attention. It is weird. I’m in a bind. The more you win, the more they come.”
That’s all true, Derrick. And the thing is, it’s always going to be. Fame and success is not going to change, so really the only choice is for you to learn to adapt to it. No matter if you’re playing basketball here in your hometown or if you bolted off to play in Utah, there is always going to be attention directed your way.
After all, you’re still Derrick Rose, no matter where you go.
So, try to embrace that a bit. Smile. Laugh. Joke around with the media a little. They’d love it. Chicagoans would, too. Believe me, you’ll be much happier if you can get more comfortable in your own skin. You know, like Patrick.
Just don’t get so comfortable that you’re taking your shirt off inside limousines. If you can avoid that, you’ll be fine.
And Patrick? Same goes for you.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Follow him on Twitter @wischlist and read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.