Pau Gasol’s jersey retirement ceremony for the Los Angeles Lakers was held last night at the Crypto.com Arena. His famous number 16 was forever enshrined in the rafters alongside some of the game’s most iconic players who wore the purple and gold. He had an impressive late-career resurgence for the Bulls, being named to the second-team All-NBA and boasting two All-Star appearances for Chicago. It begs the question of whose jersey will be the next one to rise into the prestigious club that hangs from the United Center next to Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen. Many Chicagoans have called for the same name to be honored next, so let’s dive into it.
Fairly unanimously, Derrick Rose is the most talented Bulls player since Michael Jordan, and his career unfolding in front of the Windy City made his journey that much more meaningful. Being one of the best high school prospects to ever come out of Chicago, his high school career ended with a 120-12 record, a Mr. Illinois basketball award, his high school jersey retired, and was given several prestigious honors, including nods from USA Today, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and EA Sports among the country’s best young players.
After posting a freshman season worthy of an All-Final Four honor and March Madness runner-up finish for the Memphis Tigers, Rose entered a draft where Chicago had only its’ second first overall pick in the franchise’s history. He was headed back home, and the excitement around Chicago was the highest it had been in years.
Hall Of Fame Career
Many may disagree without a championship appearance, but Derrick Rose’s resume is borderline Hall of Fame. With the number of injuries sustained, he was almost certainly a lock if he could’ve stayed healthy. Widely considered one of the most tragic career stories, Rose went from the league’s youngest MVP award winner in just his third season to departing the Bulls four seasons later after a torn ACL, meniscus, and several other injuries that limited his court time to just 166 games over those four years and prevented him from ever being the same explosive player that Chicago had drafted. To his credit, he’s also considered one of the most inspirational players of this generation because despite the endless injury battles, he was still contributing meaningful basketball to a playoff roster as recent as last season.
Derrick Rose was only the third Chicago Bull to win Rookie of the Year and owns the record for most points by a rookie in a playoff debut with 36.
Rose was the youngest MVP in the NBA’s history at 22 years old and led the Bulls to the best record in the league that year at 62-20. They would lose in the Eastern Conference Finals in the deepest playoff run Chicago has seen since Jordan and has not seen since.
He led Chicago to just their sixth 60+ win season in franchise history, just three years removed from being 33-49 and missing the playoffs entirely before his arrival.
He’s one of seven Chicago Bulls to have three or more All-Star selections with the team. For reference, Bob Love and Jerry Sloan have only five combined.
While the HOF argument will certainly be ongoing, the fact that Derrick Rose’s number 1 jersey belongs in the rafters is not up for debate. Being the most electric, explosive, talented, and resilient player since Michael Jordan has earned Rose that distinction. His dedication and passion within the city of Chicago, coupled with his other-worldly talent, belongs in the rafters alongside the greats.
No one has worn his iconic number 1 since, and almost shows a different level of respect and honor in itself that players have the option yet still choose to respect the former MVP and homegrown superstar. Hopefully, one day it’ll be permanently enshrined with the best to ever do it in the historic Chicago threads.
Toni Kukoc # should
No way You are pulling my leg. Did not play long enough to deserve to have his number retired.