When LA based writer-director Alex Munoz sat down in a Hawaii hotel room last summer to interview Derrick Rose for an upcoming documentary about the NBA's USO outreach program “Hoops for Troops,” he was amazed by the Chicago Bulls star's demeanor.
“I was shocked by his humility,” Munoz explained during a recent podcast with the Pacific Daily News, a newspaper in his native Guam. “He's so humble and respectful... He's very soft-spoken and confident, but not in any way arrogant, or conceited, or a show-off. It's almost like his nature is incongruous with his presence on the court.”
“For me, for the first time in my life after I interviewed Derrick, I thought, 'I encountered greatness,'” Munoz added. “Because greatness is more than doing a double-double or scoring a game-winning shot. Greatness is when you're great on and off the floor. He's only 23 but he's already talking about his legacy, what he will leave behind. I was shocked... When I met him, I realized this is a very special person.”
The two definitely clicked, because following their brief work together for Hoops for Troops, a film which focuses on Rose and seven other participating NBA players, Munoz was flown to Chicago to work on a second documentary profile of the Windy City hoopster. That project was on a predictable course until a certain 2011-12 shortened-season playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I was at the game; it was heartbreaking,” Munoz recalled. “You could hear a pin drop at the United Center when it happened. I've never seen anything like it and I don't want to experience anything like this again. People were walking out of the United Center like the world had ended, and it did that night if you were a Bulls fan. It was a moment I will never forget.”
“I actually turned the cameras off, I didn't want to show his family's pain,” he continued. “But I believe and I know that Derrick will come back even bigger and stronger and with more determination. It's hard to talk about because the road ended and everything changed in that one minute... He's such a likeable guy, everyone roots for him.”
Munoz also recounted a story about how during this year's NBA All Star Game in LA, Rose insisted on parking his own car at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood but then still walked up to the valet parking staff and tipped each person working that day. “That's just the kind of person he is,” Munoz raved.
Hoops for Troops is likely to premiere in the early fall, while Munoz's second, currently untitled Rose documentary will not be completed until the end of the 2012-13 season. To listen to the full Pacific Daily News podcast, click here.
[Yesterday, Rose posted his first public statement since the April 28th season-ending injury. That clip is embedded above.]