Derrick Rose has apologized for saying that detractors should "kill" themselves following the firing of former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The T-Wolves decided to part ways with Thibodeau on Sunday and there may have been suggestions that Rose's play could decline in the wake of the coach's departure.
Thibodeau coached Rose during the player's best years in Chicago and the pair enjoyed success together, with Rose being named MVP and leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference during that period.
I messed up by using the slang term “kill yourself” today in response to a question about whether I can continue to perform without coach Thibs. I did not mean it literally and regret using it so I apologize.— Derrick Rose (@drose) January 7, 2019
"I have a lot of confidence in myself," the player said, per Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, after the coach lost his job. "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.
"Like I said, for everybody that think I'm not going to play the same way, kill yourself, because I believe in myself."
The player has since taken to Twitter to apologize for what he said, also explaining that he did not mean it literally.
"I messed up by using the slang term “kill yourself” today in response to a question about whether I can continue to perform without coach Thibs. I did not mean it literally and regret using it so I apologize," he tweeted on Monday.
It was clear that Rose had an immense appreciation for Thibs, who he says was the only coach who believed in him following his injury problems.
"He was the only coach that believed in me," he declared. "No teams wasn’t looking for me at all. I was basically out the league. Even coming here, everybody didn’t know I was going to play this way.”
Derrick Rose reflects on Thibs: “He was the only coach that believed in me... No teams wasn’t looking for me at all. I was basically out the league. Even coming here, everybody didn’t know I was going to play this way.” pic.twitter.com/IUTz7tEUPn— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) January 7, 2019
What This Means
Rose and Thibodeau worked very well together, that much is evident. But his play should not decline in any way unless he isn't given minutes by the next coach, something which would be excessively unfair, given his excellent production so far this season.
The team has named assistant coach Ryan Saunders, the son of the late Flip Saunders, as interim coach and there's no reason why Rose shouldn't play as good as before under him.