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Sent to the Chicago Bulls as part of a trade deadline swap with the Oklahoma City Thunder, veteran guard Anthony Morrow probably expected a warm welcome from fans in his new home. Perhaps next time he joins a new team, he'll check if the jersey number he wants has any significance to the city first.
Having worn No. 2 with the Thunder, Morrow made the decision to switch to No. 1 with the Bulls. What he didn't consider was the man who wore the jersey before him: former MVP and hometown hero Derrick Rose. Despite Rose's fall from grace on and off the court over the last half decade, he's still beloved in his hometown by thousands of diehard Bulls fans, and it didn't sit well for Morrow to claim Rose's No. 1.
After Bulls reporters revealed the snafu, complaints began to roll in from the people most passionate about the issue:
To Morrow's credit, once he became aware of the situation and saw it could become an issue, he took to Twitter to apologize for the misunderstanding. It doesn't look like he'll be wearing No. 1 for much longer:
The blame here probably belongs to the Bulls organization. They're well aware of Rose's cult figure status in his hometown, and they could have warned Morrow of the possible backlash he'd face for choosing the number.
But it's starting to look like the Bulls are intentionally trying to distance themselves from the Rose era; they faced similar scorn last fall when they tried to give the jersey number to newcomer Michael Carter-Williams, who ended up turning it down. He too had to clarify his respect for Rose's significance to Chicago.
"I know this organization respects Derrick Rose," Carter-Williams told reporters at the time. "It has nothing to do with stepping on anyone's toes or anything like that. (Rose) was a great player. He did a lot for this city."
While adopting the No. 1 isn't on the level of a Bulls player rocking No. 23, fans have sent a clear message that they don't think new players should be taking Rose's old number. The wounds are fresh and the memories are clear for a lot of Bulls fans, so the organization might want to give this some time to blow over. At the moment, the players put in this awkward position seem to be doing a much better job of handling this than their bosses are.