Bulls fans should know by now not to take Derrick Rose for granted. Not only for his astounding hoops skills, but for the way he puts his team first and oozes humility.
Sports Illustrated is taking notice, as the magazine has nominated the Bulls superstar for its 2011 Sportsman of the Year award. The winner will be announced Dec. 6, and in the meantime RedEye takes a shot at how he stacks up against the other candidates.
Derrick Rose, Bulls guard
Why he'll win: Besides his showstopping play on the court, Rose gives back to Chicago (helping to build playgrounds) as well as to U.S. troops (participating in a USO event).
Why he won't: Being the regular-season MVP is nice and all, but the Bulls didn't even reach the NBA Finals.
Abby Wambach, U.S. soccer player
Why she'll win: The 1999 U.S. women's World Cup team won the award, so there's a precedent. And did you SEE her clutch goals against Brazil, France and Japan in the World Cup? They still give us chills.
Why she won't: Honestly, a lot of people probably didn't see those goals—at least until after the fact. And the Americans lost in the World Cup final.
Ryo Ishikawa, pro golfer
Why he'll win: He is donating all of his golf earnings in 2011 to aid his native Japan, which has been devastated by natural disasters. His contributions through October: Almost $1.5 million.
Why he won't: He hasn't so much as won a tournament this year; that lack of success might be too much to overcome.
VCU men's basketball team
Why they'll win: Who doesn't love an underdog, especially a No. 11 seed that had to win not four, but FIVE games to get to the Final Four? That included a 10-point win over No. 1-seeded Kansas.
Why they won't: There isn't much separating the Rams from, say, the 2006 George Mason team, and the Patriots didn't win Sportsmen of the Year.
Johann Olav Koss, speedskating legend
Why he'll win: The three-time Olympic golf medalist brings the joy of sports to some of the most dangerous, war-torn parts of the Earth, with a focus on youth. Can't get much nobler than that.
Why he won't: It hasn't been Sports Illustrated's pattern to give the award to athletes whose competitive days are so far behind them.