99 Problems, 45 Ain't 1
With the 14th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, my Bulls selected Denzel Valentine from Michigan State University. I've been a huge fan of his since his college days, despite my Michigan Wolverines love, and I lobbied for us to draft him. He's here now and I can't wait to see how he fits with the team and…wait! I didn't come here for that. No, I came to address what everyone seems to be perturbed about.
Denzel Valentine is introduced on June 27, 2016, and his number is revealed. He will dawn the legendary #45 made famous by none other than Michael Jordan himself. The masses recognize 23 as MJ, but he wore the number 45 upon his return to the NBA after his initial retirement. Although he only wore the number for a short stint, it's a moment that we will never forget.
What gets lost in the tale is how Jordan himself said his attachment to the number was "bad luck". Whether it's how he wore it during his 'career' with the White Sox, or how he got the ball stolen from him on a crucial play by Nick Anderson, who said "I could have never done that to number 23"; Mike wasn't with it. The deeper story behind it is great, we love the mystique of it. We love how he gave the Knicks 55pts in it, but he moved on from it and so should you.
Denzel Valentine wore the number 45 in college, and I knew that because I watched him; not Google or the press conference. You don't want him wearing it because Michael wore it and curved it? You think the Jordan #45 jersey you paid an actual limb for from Mitchell & Ness will lose value now? Ok. If he wore #1, would you conjure up a Rose conspiracy? More than likely, and we would still have bigger issues.
We will always know Jordan for wearing that number at one point, but we have much bigger issues now. We need a new franchise point guard, a new front office, a new wing player, and new frontcourt pieces...WE NEED JOSE CALDERON OFF OUR TEAM.
Go ahead and feel a way about the number on his jersey; I care way more about the numbers I need to see on the court. I'm fine with him wearing it and I'm one of the biggest Michael Jordan fans you'll find. He's the sole reason I'm a Bulls fan to this day from watching games with my big brother. I had the Jordan Jammer rim as a kid. Let Denzel live. I understand the Jay-Z line about coming back like Jordan wearing the 4-5 is classic and you won't bop the same when Denzel's wearing it, but let him live.
Only number(s) we should pay attention to are the ones that go in the stat column when it comes to Valentine in a Bulls jersey; they're the only ones that matter when it comes to how I feel about him.