Derrick Rose wore jersey No. 1 with the Chicago Bulls. This season, his first with the New York Knicks, Rose will wear No. 25, a number he says signifies a "new step" in his career.
"The past is the past, but that No. 1, I think, will always be stuck with me. It's always going to remind people and give them memories of how I played when I was younger. I was playing reckless, and I was just ballin'. I had raw talent," Rose said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. "Now, with the No. 25, I think you'll see a more mature player. You'll see the player that you saw toward the end of last year. More under control type of game, and I got a lot more options now this year. That No. 1 will always be engraved in me, and it's not going anywhere. Twenty-five is just a new step, and a new step in the right direction."
The Knicks traded for Rose in late June, the first step in putting together a club that they hope can snap the franchise's three-season playoff drought.
New York also signed veterans Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee to complement its core of Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
Rose has missed nearly 40 percent of his games since the start of the 2012-13 season, due primarily to multiple knee injuries, so his health will always be a concern. But the 27-year-old former MVP believes he has much more to offer.
"I feel like I'm not done," said Rose, who will be a free agent next season. "It's a new start. I feel rejuvenated, and when you put all that together, when I step on the floor, I really don't know what to expect. What I'm doing right now is just preparing myself for something big. I think we have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that's rare."
The Knicks have only won a total of 49 games over the last two seasons, so many may disagree with Rose's assessment of the club.
But Rose believes -- and the Knicks hope -- that he can duplicate his performance over the last two months of the 2015-16 season, when he averaged 16.4 points and 4.6 assists while shooting 45 percent from the floor (37.5 percent from beyond the arc).
"I just love the group," Rose said of the Knicks' roster. "I think everybody is on the same page. I love the culture that Phil is creating. Just the organization and franchise, I love everybody that's working on it, and they seem like they're very excited for everything. That just rubs off on people."
Derrick Rose: No. 25 jersey signifies "a new step in the right direction"