Lauri Markkanen has to go down as one of the most respectful players in NBA history for doing this one simple act.
Normally, when a player enters a new team and his preferred jersey number isn't retired by the team, it's up for grabs. While you'll see some players ask permission from past Hall of Famers if it's okay to wear their jersey number, Markkanen did not want to take any chances when he first arrived with the Chicago Bulls in 2017. After all, Bulls fans were irate whenever anyone not named Derrick Rose wore the iconic No. 1 jersey.
As Lauri Markkanen was choosing his jersey number, he noticed all of his choices (10 and 23) were taken. The No. 10 he wore in Arizona was retired by the Bulls in honor of Bob Love. And we already know nobody on that team can ever wear the No. 23 ever again. In the end, Markkanen decided to go one up on Jordan and chose the No. 24 instead. But before he would officially choose that number, he decided to ask permission from the last player to ever wear the jersey as a sign of respect even if the number wasn't going to be retired anytime soon. Turns out, that man would be the White Mamba himself, Brian Scalabrine.
Markkanen actually had a pre-existing bond with Scalabrine during his pre-draft workout with the Boston Celtics. Scal acted as his rebounder and even gave Markkanen one of his jerseys when the workout was finished.
Now, Lauri Markkanen definitely did not need to do this regardless of what their relationship was. In Scalabrine's two seasons playing for the Bulls, he averaged 1.1 points, 0.6 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in 46 games played. It is still crazy he even asked in the first place, but what's even crazier about this story is that he actually wore the No. 24 again when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It does make you wonder; did he also ask Marques Bolden if he could wear the No. 24 with the Cavs? Did he also get Royce O'Neale's approval if he could wear the No. 23 with the Utah Jazz?
Lauri Markkanen Chose 24 For SCALABRINE!? 😱 I Clutch #Shorts – YouTube