Why Bulls' Caruso wasn't allowed to change jersey No. 6


During a press conference with reporters at Chicago Bulls media day, Alex Caruso revealed that he considered changing his jersey number this offseason.

Caruso wears No. 6, which in August became the first number retired across the NBA in honor of the late Bill Russell. The league at the time specified that players currently using the number would be allowed to keep it if they desired.

Still, Caruso looked into a change — until the NBA told him that wasn’t a possibility.

“I did give some thought to changing it this year,” Caruso told reporters, “And the NBA told me I couldn’t because I was in the top 75 of jersey sales.”

Caruso followed that up by giving himself a light-hearted pat on the back. But he was gravely serious when speaking of his reverence for Russell.

“Obviously (I) want to do nothing but honor him and his legacy and what he stood for. He’s one of the pioneers — a racial advocate for the game of basketball in general and just an all around great person,” Caruso said. “I don’t know anybody that talks about him or knew him that had anything negative to say.”

Caruso added that he will likely consider swapping his number after this season; he wore No. 4 with the Lakers, but given that that number is retired by the Bulls in honor of Jerry Sloan, he changed to 6 because he liked the look of it the best.

Whenever (or if ever) he makes a change, one thing is certain: Caruso will be the last Bull to ever wear the number.

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