Skip to main content

NBA star Rose says poverty to blame for Chicago gun crime

July 12, 2013 -- Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)
  • Chicago gun crime "starts out with poverty," says NBA star Derrick Rose
  • The 24-year-old grew up in the city's poor South Side but was protected by his family
  • Rose says he tries to be a role model through his sport
  • The former NBA MVP believes the reason to work hard is to help people

(CNN) -- NBA star Derrick Rose has spoken out about gun crime in his hometown of Chicago and identified poverty as its root cause.

The Chicago police department recorded 506 murders in 2012 -- with estimates that about 80 percent were gang related, while there have been 185 murders on record up until July 3rd this year.

"It all starts out from poverty," Rose, who grew up in the city's impoverished South Side district of Englewood, told CNN.

For Chicago, 7 weekend homicides represent progress

"People are just surviving. People are just really trying to get out.

"If you look at the world we're living in today, everything's just getting faster. You want success faster, you want internet faster, and everything is getting faster, so of course, you being human, you want a lifestyle even faster.

"You see people being famous off YouTube; you think you could be that next person, so that creates havoc."

NBA star breaks down at sneaker launch
Activist: Violence is learned behavior
Should Obama get involved in Chicago?

Rose's family shielded him from trouble as a young boy, having recognized his burgeoning basketball talent.

After a stellar High School and college career as a point guard, Rose was the first pick for the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA draft.

He went on to be named the NBA rookie of the year in 2009 -- an honor shared by former Bull Michael Jordan.

The 24-year-old Rose recognizes part of his responsibilities as a successful sportsman is to be a role model for the next generation growing up in difficult circumstances.

"I'm young, but for some reason, people tend to listen to me, especially the younger kids," Rose, who exudes a shy but friendly demeanor, continued.

"Just knowing where I grew up and what I had 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, just really trying to bring hope to my city, where of course, we're going through so much stuff with crime.

"I'm just trying to bring that positive energy back, bring that excitement back, so that we can get it back on the right track."

Presidential problem

President Barack Obama has also spoken with concern about the problems of gun crime and poverty in Chicago -- home to his private residence.

The problems were brought into sharp focus in January when 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot dead in Chicago just a week after taking part in the President's inauguration ceremony.

The death came as Obama's administration has been focused on reducing gun violence, especially the killing of children, after the December 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Pendleton was killed in Hyde Park neighborhood near Obama's Chicago home.

Career criminal charged with killing 6-month-old baby

A recent study by the Pew Research Center study found U.S. gun homicides have leveled out the past 20 years.

While political solutions can take a long time, Rose -- who is on the road promoting basketball and meeting his fans on a world tour of Europe and Asia as he recovers from knee surgery -- has been focusing on what he can do to help the situation in his home city.

"For me, all I could do is, like I said, stay positive, know that it's people watching me -- young kids looking up to me," Rose said.

"Just give them a reason to go out there and work hard and know that the reason they're working hard is to help people."

Part of complete coverage on
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Photography can really pack a punch. Catch up with all the best shots from around the world with our weekly sports gallery.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1513 GMT (2313 HKT)
San Francisco 49ers owner and co-chairman John York speaks to CNN about Michael Sam and the upcoming NFL Draft.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka is running to be president of the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
A competitor crosses the erg Znaigui during the second stage of the 26rd edition of the 'Marathon des Sables', on April 4, 2011, some 300 Kilometers, South of Ouarzazate in Morocco. The marathon is considered one of the hardest in the world, with 900 participants having to walk 250 kms (150 miles) for seven days in the Moroccan Sahara.
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.