Bulls Rookie Dalen Terry Set to Carry Lofty Legacy on His Back

Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls

Getty Dalen Terry #4 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts

The story of Chicago Bulls rookie Dalen Terry has yet to be written in the NBA. But he is already among some hallowed Chicago sports legends. That is thanks to the uniform, specifically the number, that Terry will don as a pro.

Drafted with the 18th-overall pick in the draft, Terry is mostly athleticism and intangibles at this point.

He has shown an ability to facilitate and hit open looks from long distance. But his energy – particularly on defense – and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good could be what gets him on the floor sooner than later.

There could be much more in his future, though, if he lives up to the jersey.

Welcome to the Bulls, Rook

Terry met with local media in person for the first time on June 27. His enthusiasm showed during his draft night availability, even via Zoom. This time, a more subdued Terry sat in-between Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and head coach Billy Donovan.

Donovan said Terry’s role will be determined when the entire group gets together. But he is impressed with Terry’s willingness to learn and improve.

Karnisovas reiterated many of the same points Bulls general manager Marc Eversley did on draft night about what drew the Bulls to Terry. Then the trio of Donovan, Karnisovas, and Terry stood for their group photo and the rookie was holding up his new No. 25 jersey.

Those are some loft connections and support Terry’s assertion that, following his workout with Chicago in May, he told his agent “this is where I want to be,” per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson.

Steve Kerr, an Arizona alum and four-time world champion as a head coach, won five rings as a player. Three of those came with the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls while wearing the No. 25. But Kerr was far from a passenger on those teams.

Kerr's Game-Winner Against the Jazz in '97Kerr talks about his clutch game-winning jumper to seal the 1997 NBA Finals in Game 6 against Utah. Visit nba.com/video for more highlights.2011-12-07T17:19:20Z

Kerr entered the league as an efficient shooter, knocking down over 57% of his deep looks in his final collegiate season.

Gone Too Soon

As great as Kerr is, he takes a backseat to Wilson in terms of being a local hero. The story of Benji Wilson is a tragic one that has been written about and covered in documentaries. He was so influential, Derrick Rose donned the No. 25 when he was traded to the New York Knicks in 2017 in homage.

It was a return to his high school roots at Simeon Academy in Chicago where Wilson starred wearing that very number.

The caption for his self-titled ESPN “30 for 30” documentary calls Wilson “America’s most talented basketball prospect” and a sweet-natured boy” that was “senselessly murdered.”

He was more than that to Terry, though.

Wilson’s memory will live on forever in Chicago where the top players at his high school alma mater often honor his memory by wearing his number.

The 6-foot-9 Wilson was once described by former NBA veteran and Chicago native Nick Anderson as “Magic Johnson with a jump shot,” per Slam’s Scoop Jackson. He was the “next big thing” of his time but never got to live out his dream.

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That has not stopped him from being a symbol for generations of Chicago basketball players and, apparently, Terry whose family ties were stronger than his being a Phoenix native himself.

Highest in Team History

None of this should put undue expectations for Terry, whom Chicago sports correspondent Daniel Greenberg reported multiple teams attempted to trade up to select. He will be the tenth Bulls player in the team’s history to wear No. 25 and the seventh since Wilson’s passing.

The list includes Earl Cureton (1987) and Chuck Nevitt (1992) before Kerr as well as Corey Benjamin (1999-2001), Darius Songaila (2006), and Marquise Teague (2013-2014) after him.

Most recently, Walt Lemon Jr. wore it in 2019 and Tyler Cook wore it this past season.

Hall of Famer Chet Walker was the first to wear the jersey doing so from 1970-1975. That is the longest tenure in the field.

Terry is the third Bulls draft choice to wear the number, joining Benjamin and Teague. Both of them were also taken in the first round. But they were drafted with the 28th and 29th picks in their respective classes putting Terry at the head of the class.

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