Tuesday, September 26, 2023

New Bulls Center Is Doing Something That Hasn’t Been Done In Chicago Since 2016


The Bull’s free-agent acquisitions became officially official this week as the Chicago Bulls officially announced the signings. One of those signings was center, Tony Bradley. Bradley has played four seasons in the NBA with Chicago being his fourth team. However, we aren’t here to talk about Bradley’s on-court play. We are here to talk about something Bradley will be doing this upcoming season that hasn’t been done since the 2015-16 Bulls season. Yesterday the team announced the new player’s numbers for the upcoming season. Let’s just say Bradley has some big shoes to fill with the number he chose.

Bradley is going to follow in the footsteps of one of the most loved centers in Chicago, Joakim Noah. While he isn’t to the same level talent-wise that Joakim Noah was it’s still the first player to wear that number since Jo did. Bradley has worn that number with each team he’s been on with the exception of the 76ers. While that’s been his number for I’m sure years he did say there’s a reason why he went with it in Chicago.

Bradley is honoring Joakim Noah

Bradley was asked if he planned to wear #13 followed by a comment on how the city will react to that. Bradley’s response was nothing short of perfect.

If he was trying to get the fans on his side it certainly worked. While he’s not a household name he’s still going to be a contributor on this team. Currently, he’s the only true backup center the team has. Luckily for the Bulls, he’s coming off his best NBA season yet. Maybe the #13 jersey gives him a little bit of a spark. Hopefully, some of Joakim Noah’s tenacious energy is still be left in that jersey. Either way, Bradley clearly knows how Bulls fans feel about #13. There’s a high bar that needs to be met after what Noah did in Chicago. One thing is for sure, this will take some getting used to.

Getting used to the new #13

The #13 jersey hitting the floor this season certainly won’t be the same as the previous version. Bradley isn’t going to be a starter. However, he will most likely be a contributor to this team. Hopefully, Bradley can channel his inner Joakim Noah and bring unmatched intensity. One thing is for sure, this will take fans a minute to get used to.

While it’s just a jersey number it still holds a lot of meaning in Chicago. I myself still have my #13 jersey and wear it proudly. Noah meant a lot to the city of Chicago and still does. So Bradley will need to wear this jersey like a badge of honor. If he can bring some intensity and defense to the Bulls the transition will be smooth and easy. If he doesn’t look great out of the gate he better be prepared for the hecklers. Lucky for him he’s not expected to be a top guy on this team.

Is the return of Noah possible?

Since we are on the topic of Joakim Noah let’s get into some scenarios. It’s no secret that Joakim Noah brings a lot of energy to the floor. While his time as a player is over is it possible we may still see him on the floor in some capacity? With the number of players coming back in coaching roles, it’s certainly a possibility.

It certainly could be a possibility. It isn’t likely but hey, we can dream. Just imagine Joakim Noah on the sidelines yelling at players, getting in their faces, and bringing intensity. While there are many connections there with Chicago and head coach Billy Donovan this isn’t likely to happen. As much as I would love to see this. Joakim Noah will always be a beloved Chicago Bull. His time in Chicago is unmatched. However, with his number not being retired we will have to get used to new players donning the #13. It will be tough to get used to and Bradley needs to show that he is worthy of wearing it.

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