NBA star Derrick Rose is very much committed to uplifting the younger generation in and out of his hometown of Chicago.
The Chicago Bulls player, who hails from the crime-ridden Englewood neighborhood on the city’s South Side, sat down with CNN to discuss the city’s gun problem and how he is doing his part to give back.
“I’m young, but for some reason people tend to listen to me, especially the younger kids,” the 24-year-old pro said. “Just knowing where I grew up and what I have to go through to get where I’m at today. Being a role model, of course. That’s what I try to do. I try to stay positive.”
Rose explained he is trying to counter the crime in his city by bringing back “hope,” “positive energy,” and “excitement,” so everyone may get “back on the right track.”
Rose described the gun violence issue plaguing his hometown of Chicago as having roots in “poverty.”
“People just surviving and people just trying to really get out,” he explained. “If you look at the world we’re living in today, everything is just getting faster. You want success faster, you want the Internet faster… so of course with you being human, you want a lifestyle ever more faster. You seeing people getting famous off YouTube. You think you can be that next person. That creates havoc, but at the same time, it creates different ideas and different subjects.”
Rose has been very vocal against the murders occurring in Chicago and has offered financial assistance in funeral costs to victims of high-profile killings.
The 3-time NBA All-Star has offered to pay for the funeral cost of 6-month-old murder victim Jonylah Watkins, Rev. Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church told ABC 7 Chicago.
Rose took to Twitter to comment on the tragic murder.
“I’m sitting here just thinking how sad it is that my city got to go through this. I love my city and everyone in it even my haters!
“I don’t like that fact that OUR kids are not in school and that’s the only thing we have to SAVE these kids.
“I pray everyday for US for real. I know I shouldn’t be saying this because I hoop and it’s not my lane but I feel like ppl should hear this,” he wrote.
At only 6 months old, Watkins was shot as she was getting her diaper changed by her father Jonathan Watkins, who, too, was shot.
Jonylah was shot five times in the lung, liver, leg, shoulder, and bowel, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Rose also footed the bill for slain up and coming Chicago emcee Lil’ JoJo.
Englewood resident Lil’ JoJo, born Joseph Coleman, was murdered in a hail of gunfire in a drive-by shooting as he was riding on the back pegs of a friend’s bike. Witnesses described the vehicle as a tan, older model, four-door Ford Taurus that was riding low in the back, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Authorities believe members of the Black Disciples street gang are responsible for Coleman’s death
Gun violence has plagued the city of Chicago for many years. Many residents have renamed the Windy City “Chiraq” for its high rate of violence. Chicago, according to statistics, has a higher homicide rate than Kabul, Afghanistan.
In 2012 alone, the city recorded 506 murders.
To remedy the situation in Chicago, Rose is staying “positive” because there are people and young kids looking up to him.
He wants to “give them a reason to go out there and work hard and know the reason why they’re working hard is to help people.”
Watch Rose’s CNN Interview
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