LeBron James is expected to have a new number during the 2021-22 NBA season.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, James will wear No. 6 next year, the number he wore during his four years with the Miami Heat.
The change will come after his appearance on “Space Jam 2: A New Legacy” over the summer.
First look: LeBron James will change his Lakers jersey number to No. 6 next season after donning the number in his new movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” pic.twitter.com/VZksn1qVCy
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 9, 2021
This isn’t the first time James has changed numbers during his career, nor is it the first time he’s worn No. 6. Here’s a brief history of the jerseys he’s worn during his 18-year NBA career.
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Why LeBron James Has Worn Nos. 23, 6 During His NBA Career
During his first season with the Cavaliers from 2003 to 2010, James donned the No. 23 jersey. The reason he chose that jersey had everything to do with Michael Jordan, as he explained in a 2019 interview.
“I wear number 23 for the great Michael Jordan”, James said. “When I started playing basketball, I thought, ‘Oh man, that two-three looks good. I want to be able to fly like him. I want to be able to shoot like him. I want to be able to dunk on someone like him. I want to be able to stick my tongue out. like him in the air and yell at someone like MJ. ‘
“So, since I started playing ball, I used the number 23.”
However, when James first joined the Heat in 2010, he left No. 23 and opted to wear the No. 6 jersey instead. At the time, he explained that he was doing it to honor Jordan’s legacy.
“I think what Michael Jordan has done for the game should be recognized in some way soon,” James said. Bleach Report. “There wouldn’t be LeBron James, or Kobe Bryant, or Dwyane Wade if there wasn’t Michael Jordan first.”
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At the time, James even petitioned for the league-wide number to be retired.
“I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I’m starting a petition and I have everyone in the NBA to sign it.” James said. “Now if I’m not going to wear No. 23, then no one else should be able to wear it.”
That never gained traction, so when James returned to Cleveland in 2014, he chose to wear the No. 23 jersey again. He has used 23 from that point from 2014-21 until the last change was announced.
Why is LeBron James changing his jersey number again?
But why is LeBron making the switch again? Well, it could have something to do with his teammate Anthony Davis.
Before coming to the Lakers, Davis had always worn the 23 jersey with the Pelicans, and James was fine with the idea of gifting Davis the number. However, for Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Nike closed it before the 2019-20 season:
Due to production problems and the huge financial hit that Nike would have absorbed from James’ inventory No. 23 that has already been produced, Nike was unable to accommodate the request for this season, the sources said.
After a couple of years, perhaps Nike can better adapt to the change, especially if James and Davis gave them advance notice.
However, as Charania and Tim Cato of The Athletic reportedDavis is expected to keep his No. 3 jersey. So maybe there’s another reason James chose to turn things around again.