Derrick Rose is facing backlash for some recent comments amid a positive season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rose — whose career has been riddled with injuries and setbacks in the years since winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2011 with the Chicago Bulls — has experienced a resurgence with a series of thrilling performances, including a 50-point showing against the Utah Jazz on Halloween night 2018.
But on Sunday, the Timberwolves fired coach Tom Thibodeau following their blowout win against the Los Angeles Lakers. Rose, 30, was later questioned about whether he would be able to sustain a high level of performance without Thibodeau, who also coached the athlete early in his career while he was on the Bulls.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself. Thibs was just the coach that believed in me. I mean, he jump-started my career again and for that, I’ll always be thankful,” Rose told ESPN reporters on Monday, before adding, “But everybody that thinks that it’s gonna stop, kill yourself. It’s just not.”
Derrick Rose to people who believe he can’t keep playing at his current level without Thibs — “Kill yourself”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 7, 2019
Rose went on to describe Thibodeau’s influence, and, once again, addressed his critics with the same controversial statement.
“He was the only coach that believed in me,” he explained, according to ESPN. “Right when I got the call, I was in Cleveland practicing at Cleveland State, by myself, with me and my little guy, Art. It was me and him in the gym, by ourselves, five days a week.”
The outlet reported that Rose continued: “I had a kid at that time, my baby girl. No teams wasn’t looking for me at all. I was basically out of the league. And even coming here, everybody didn’t know I was gonna play this way. Like, he believed me. I believed in myself. My family believed in me. And my little guy Art believed in me. And we got it done. And like I said, for everybody who think that I’m not gonna play the same way, kill yourself, because I believe in myself.”
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
The “kill yourself” comments were met with immediate backlash on social media, and Rose offered an apology for using the “slang term” within hours of the interview.
“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,” Rose tweeted on Monday afternoon.
“I did not mean it literally and regret using it so I apologize,” he added.
Rose is currently out with an ankle injury, and is averaging 18.9 points and 4.8 assists this season. The Timberwolves currently sit in eleventh place in the Western Conference, which is currently dominated by the Denver Nuggets and Stephen Curry‘s Golden State Warriors, the defending champions.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Read more: people.com