Consider this a public service announcement to anyone joining the Chicago Bulls in the near-future: A very vocal segment of fans does not want you anywhere near Derrick Rose’s old number. Period.
Earlier this season, point guard Michael Carter-Williams sparked a mini-controversy in the Windy City with his decision to rock jersey No. 1, the digit Rose made famous in seven seasons with the Bulls (eight, technically, but one was spent on the sideline).
Then this week, newly acquired Anthony Morrow made the same mistake after Chicago traded for him from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Morrow had no idea about the outcry from some fans regarding the jersey number until he was told about the situation from assembled media members in the locker room. Veteran Dwyane Wade, who was listening to the conversation from a nearby locker, tried to ease his nerves by telling Morrow that it was the organization’s decision in regard to whether a player could wear a certain number or not.
Morrow apologized on Twitter after the game for having the audacity to wear one of the Bulls’ available numbers:
Nooo disrespect to the fans here in chicago! Had I known y'all felt like this about number 1 I swear I wouldn't have chose it. I apologize
Oh, and the kicker? Morrow never saw the court on Friday, instead spending the entire game with his warmups over his No. 1 jersey.
Give Morrow credit for taking Bulls fans’ feelings into account with this one, as you don’t want to tick off the home crowd in your first week on the job, but this whole thing feels a little silly. Rose hasn’t been a star since 2012, and his time on top of the NBA was fleeting at best. I understand Chicago fans embrace Rose for what he represented: a hometown hero bringing the franchise back to the glory days of MJ.
At some point, though, it might be wise to move on.