The Minnesota Timberwolves brought the Tom Thibodeau era to a close on Sunday. Just hours after coaching the Wolves to a 22-point win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Thibodeau was Thibodeau was out of a job. The decision was the culmination of a long evaluation process of the team after the Jimmy Butler trade, and also a response to fan apathy hurting the business side of the franchise.
While the decision made plenty of sense, there is still the personal side of a firing to contend with. For one, Thibodeau is now out of a job. On top of that, the players have to adjust to losing their head coach. With the Timberwolves, that aspect was unique, as Thibs had not only coached the Wolves for a few seasons, but had previously coached a number of the team’s players with the Chicago Bulls as well. In particular, Thibodeau coached Derrick Rose for five seasons in Chicago, and then brought him to Minnesota last season in large part because of their relationship.
When speaking to reporters on Monday following Thibodeau’s firing, Rose mentioned his former coach’s impact on him, but also had a very harsh message for anyone who doubts Rose can continue to be himself without Thibodeau around.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Rose said. “Thibs was just the coach that believed in me. He jump-started my career again and for that I’ll always be thankful, but for everybody that think that it’s going to stop, kill yourself.”
If that wasn’t clear, Rose later doubled-down, using the phrase again:
“Like I said, for everybody that think I’m not going to play the same way, kill yourself, because I believe in myself,” said Rose, whose Wolves face the Thunder on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET — watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension).
It didn’t take long before Rose took to Twitter a short time later to apologize for his comments, saying he “messed up by using the slang term ‘kill yourself.'”
It’s certainly quite rare to hear a player publicly address fans or people who doubt them in this way, and it wasn’t surprising that many in the general public were upset by Rose’s comments. Even if it was clearly not meant literally, that still isn’t a phrase that should be used by anyone. Likewise, it wasn’t surprising for Rose to issue a quick apology for his error.
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