LAS VEGAS — Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his first professional game on Saturday, but it was his jersey that caught the attention of fans all over the league.
That’s because Markkanen’s first professional jersey was misspelled. The “a” and the “e” were in the wrong place.
The University of Arizona alum knew right away that something was amiss.
“Right when I got the jersey at the hotel,” Markkanen said after the Bulls’ 91-75 summer league loss to the Dallas Mavericks. “I didn’t know who to tell. I just went out there and guys noticed it.”
Markkanen is hopeful his new jersey, with the correct spelling, will be ready to go on Monday in the Bulls’ second game.
“Yeah, I told them,” he said. “They gave me a right-spelling jersey in the third quarter, but I didn’t want to change it on the bench. It’ll be right on Monday, I hope. The good thing is I hope when the regular season comes, that doesn’t happen again.”
The Bulls acquired Markkanen on draft night in a swap that sent All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Markkanen acknowledged some pregame jitters prior to his first NBA game, but he showed confidence with his jumper, going 5-for-11 from the field.
“Great player,” Bulls point guard Kris Dunn said of Markkanen. “He can knock down a shot, put the ball on the deck, make plays. I think once he gets stronger, he’ll be very good.”