Overcoming obstacles, finding early success, facing setbacks, and bouncing back to reach the top of their games; the career arcs of Derrick Rose and Tupac Shakur mirror each other with stories of breakthroughs, heartaches, and achievements. While ’Pac lived a much more dangerous lifestyle than Rose that resulted in his eventual passing, the two had a similar rise in their respective paths. Born into rough environments, Rose and Shakur were blessed with otherworldly talent—one with a basketball, the other with a pen—that helped them achieve a better life. Once in the public light, both faced scrutiny and massive success in a short period of time.
At just 26 years old, Rose’s tale is still being written. The point guard has inspired people around the world with his story of making it out of the dangerous South Side of Chicago to the University of Memphis and coming back as the hometown hero and the face of the Bulls. Following his 2010-11 MVP season, Rose has been unrightfully plagued by knee injuries that have stripped him of prime years of his career. Despite each injury, he has returned to the court as if nothing happened, and his perseverance and will to succeed is second to none. His most recent injury is more frustrating than anything, yet he’s been in this situation before and knows what he needs to do.
By the age of 25, Tupac had made it from the bottom to the top of hip-hop’s elite. After grinding in the underground scene for years with groups like Digital Underground, ’Pac had his breakthrough moment in 1995, when his third solo album, Me Against the World, propelled him to superstardom. A successful actor and rapper, Tupac had a tumultuous life and career outside of the studio. Still, much like Rose, no matter what was put in his way, he overcame it all and recorded All Eyez on Me (arguably his best work), and went on to sell nine million copies of the album. Shakur was tragically killed in September of 1996, but his music and legacy still lives on. His words and art are still inspiring people around the globe nearly two decades after his death.
Recently, Powerade debuted a riveting commercial featuring visuals of Derrick with Tupac’s famous “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” poem narrating the tale. This made us think: Could there be more of a connection than meets the eye? We explored.