(REUTERS) - Minnesota Timberwolves veteran guard Derrick Rose was left to apologise on social media on Monday (Jan 7) after telling detractors to "kill yourself" if they thought his drive and determination would wane in the wake of head coach Tom Thibodeau's firing.
Rose, a former MVP who has revived his game this year at age 30, made the defiant comment twice on Monday while speaking to reporters one day after his former coach in both Chicago and Minnesota was dismissed from the Timberwolves.
"I have a lot of confidence in myself," Rose told reporters. "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. But everybody that thinks it's gonna stop, kill yourself. It's just not."
Rose repeated the phrase a second time when explaining how Thibodeau called while he was practising alone at Cleveland State with his son.
"But like I said, think that I'm not gonna play the same way, kill yourself, because I believe in myself," Rose said.
Rose, a three-time All-Star under Thibodeau as a member of the Bulls, has looked more like his former self this season, scoring 18.9 points per game and averaging 4.8 assists. His 46.2 per cent shooting from 3-point range is a career best.
Rose's apology came later Monday via Twitter: "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 apologise."