The acquisition of Michael Carter-Williams was official on Monday, though not on time for him to play in that night’s preseason game, an overtime loss to Charlotte.
But he’s already made news that’s had several twists and turns. First in him announcing through his Instagram account that he’ll be wearing #1 for Chicago. That number obviously has some very recent history.
Carter-Williams said that Rose’s standing with the team didn’t factor into his decision — it was simply about getting back to his roots after a disappointing season and a half in Milwaukee, where he wore No. 5 because the Bucks had retired No. 1 for Oscar Robertson.
“I was No. 1 in college at Syracuse,” Carter-Williams said. “I’ve been No. 1 a lot. The discussion is probably going to be, that’s D-Rose’s old number. It has nothing to do with that D-Rose. He was great for the city, he’s an excellent player. I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes or anyone’s mantle. It’s just a number that I like. I was No. 1 in college, like I said before. I was 1 in Philly. I feel like I had some success in Philly, winning Rookie of the Year. When I went to Milwaukee, I was No. 5. So I’m just trying to get a chip on my shoulder and perform well.”
Reportedly the Bulls didn’t push back on the decision.
But fans did. Like troublemakers including Ricky O’Donnell, or producers of all these emojis...
And then, after the game, Carter-Williams changed his mind.
Just spoke with Michael Carter-Williams. He didn't want to cause a Derrick Rose controversy with #1 jersey. So he'll wear #7 instead.— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) October 18, 2016
It sounds like this was MCW’s decision, and not the Bulls. Though should the Bulls have pushed back in the first place?
Maybe? Rose isn’t going to the Hall of Fame, and is a borderline-at-best case for having his number retired (he’s no Harold Baines!), but he does have a lot of individual and team accolades earned in that jersey over 8 seasons, including an MVP award. And there’s also the added symbolism of him being the number one overall pick out of his hometown.
Maybe the fallout with the organization culminating in Rose’s trade, plus the ongoing civil trial against him (which, even at a best-case result for him, still exposed him as gross and a creep) , made it something not worth fighting for. But perhaps MCW has already ingratiated himself to fans by playing politics.