Anthony Morrow won't wear ex-Bull Derrick Rose's No. 1 after backlash

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Sunday, February 26, 2017

CHICAGO -- New Bulls guard Anthony Morrow said he wants to change his jersey number after receiving angry tweets from fans for choosing No. 1 -- Derrick Rose's old jersey number.

Morrow suited up in the No. 1 and was on the bench for the Bulls' 128-121 win over the Suns on Friday, but he did not play.

This is the second time this season a new Bulls player has dealt with anger from fans via social media for trying to wear Rose's old number. After being traded to the Bulls from the Milwaukee Bucks in October, Michael Carter-Williams chose No. 1 after coming to Chicago. But after dealing with angry comments from fans, he made the switch to No. 7.

"Before the game I didn't see anybody say anything on Twitter or Instagram," Morrow said. "And then when I sat down I started going through my Twitter mentions and it was like -- crazy. [Fans saying] 'What makes you think you can wear that?' I'm like, 'Oh, D-Rose.' [The media] told me, but I had forgot that quick.

"But I like Derrick, he's a great guy, that's my guy, man. And I know what the city means to him and I know what he means to the city. Fans are a part of the sport, and they're a part of the fan base, so I'm going to respect it."

Morrow said he 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 Morrow's nerves by telling him it was the organization's decision to let him wear the number.

Morrow explained why he chose No. 1 when he arrived in Chicago.

"If I'd have thought about it, I wouldn't even had [asked] for it. I just got it because it was close to No. 2 ... that was my number," Morrow explained Saturday. "I wore No. 2 in OKC. I would definitely have chosen [No.] 2."

Jerian Grant currently wears No. 2 for the Bulls.

Though Rose now dons No. 25 for theNew York Knicksin a nod to deceased Chicago prep hoops legend Ben Wilson, he said the No. 1 does mean something to him.

"For me, I feel two ways about it. I understand that it's just a number but I get how the fans feel too as far as just the memories that we had, me wearing that number," Rose said Saturday. "Me becoming the player that I am right now. I was there eight years, I've been there eight years. Just the history that we had with one another, me and the fans."

The Bulls have an interesting decision on their hands regarding what to do with No. 1 moving forward. Rose, who was dealt to the Knicks last summer, became the youngest MVP in league history as a member of the Bulls during the 2010-11 season at age 22. Once universally beloved throughout the city, a series of knee injuries, including a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs, derailed the Chicago native's career.

Bulls fans seem split on the legacy Rose left behind. Some fans are still angry at the point guard for deciding not to play in 2012-13 despite being medically cleared by the Bulls midway through the season. Some fans still defend Rose at every turn and believe he shouldn't have been traded from his hometown team. Once again, Rose's supporters have made their voices heard.

Information from ESPN's Ian Begley contributed to this report.