Chicago Bulls rookie Denzel Valentine to wear Michael Jordan's old jersey No. 45
Bulls rookie Denzel Valentine picked his college jersey number, which has special significance for the Chicago franchise. Photo from Chicago Bulls Twitter account.

THE No.45 Chicago Bulls jersey will always be associated with Michael Jordan’s 1995 comeback after his short-lived retirement and foray with baseball.

Twenty-one years later, Denzel Valentine, Chicago’s first lottery pick since 2008, will wear No.45, the same number he had while playing for Michigan State.

The Bulls are onboard and have even begun selling Valentine’s new jersey. 


Jordan wore the No.45 shortly after his 'I’m back' announcement, replacing his iconic No.23 in his first nine seasons with the Bulls. He also chose No.45 when he played for the Chicago White Sox minor league team.

The new number, however, failed to stick with fans – and Jordan, who struggled for 22 regular season and playoff games with the no.45.

After the Orlando Magic beat the Bulls in the first game of their Eastern Conference semifinals match up, Nick Anderson (who helped steal the ball from Jordan in a crucial endgame possession) famously quipped that "No. 45 doesn't explode like No. 23 used to," the Magic guard told reporters after the game. "No. 45 is not No. 23. I couldn't have done that to No. 23."    

In typical Jordan fashion, he went back to No.23 in Game 2 (earning him a $25,000 fine) and scored 38 points. He wore the number until his eventual retirement.  

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