Thibodeau believes Bulls should retire Rose's jersey


Asked if he believes the Chicago Bulls should one day retire Derrick Rose's jersey No. 1, Tom Thibodeau first qualified by saying the question is best directed to the Bulls organization.

But the former Bulls head coach and current New York Knicks frontman also has an opinion on the matter.

"I'm hopeful. My opinion is he is deserving. I'd love to see it," Thibodeau said ahead of his Knicks' tilt against the Bulls at the United Center Friday night. "What Derrick did for this organization, what he did for the city, and what the city and the organization did for him as well. I'd love to see it. In my opinion, he's a Hall of Fame player."

Rose, who spoke with reporters shortly afterwards in the Knicks' locker room, appreciated the gesture.

"He stamped it? Then they should do it then, if Thibs said so," Rose joked, before adding: "It would be awesome to see it. But it’s years away from that right now."

While Rose noted he has contemplated the possibility of his jersey hanging from the United Center rafters, it is not something he is sweating.

"Of course I've thought about it, but only from people asking me about it," Rose said. "For me, it wouldn't be a big problem. But for my family members to see that and the people that have supported me all these years to be part of it, that would be cool. I know the love I’ve received, no matter if it's here or somewhere else. That’s all I need."

Indeed, Rose is well-received every time he returns to the United Center, to the point that "MVP" chants from Chicago crowds have become common occurrence. Even as he is suited up for opposing teams.

And then there are the other ways the Bulls faithful, in their own way, have shown him appreciation. Like when fan backlash forced Anthony Morrow to change his jersey number from Rose's No. 1 after Morrow was traded to the Bulls by the Thunder in February 2017.

"It's unreal," Rose said. "I'm sorry the guys had to go through that, all the ones that did."

The Bulls have not even tried to give his number out in recent years — which, in Rose's view, points to an eventual retirement being possible. And if it does, he hopes some of his teammates can join him.

Thibodeau added he believes "there were a few players that were on that (Bulls) team that deserve consideration to be up there." Rose concurred, citing Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, specifically.

"It’s not up to me. If it was up to me, for sure those two guys would be up there," Rose said. "But it’s up to (Bulls chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) and the franchise to make that decision."

The Bulls have historically been selective about giving out the honor of a retired number and jersey hanging from the United Center rafters. Four players have been indoctrinated, to date: Michael Jordan (23), Scottie Pippen (33), Jerry Sloan (4) and Bob Love (10).

Rose's case would center on his storybook rise from Chicago high school prodigy, to No. 1 overall draft pick for his hometown team, to the youngest MVP in league history. He also steered the Bulls to an Eastern Conference finals and a handful of second-round exits in his seven seasons.

Noah, a two-time All-Star and one-time Defensive Player of the Year, and Deng were also beloved cogs for the early-2010's teams that represented the franchise's most successful run since the dynasty.

How the Bulls maintain the legacies of these organization icons is years away from being determined. But it speaks to the rapid passage of time that it is beginning to become a conversation.

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