Lebron James is changing his Jersey Number back to 23

After just two NBA seasons, Lebron James is changing his jersey number back from his iconic No. 6 back to the original number 23. James says that it is to honor the late Bill Russell, whose number was retired league-wide last season in his memory.

Lebron James, wearing the number 23 for the Los Angeles Lakers, dribbling up the court.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

James also mentioned that last year was going to be his last season wearing the number six. He claimed that the final season of his No. 6 was to also honor Bill Russell.

Over the past 20 years in the NBA, LeBron has only changed his number three different times prior to today. The first two were because of his signing with the Miami Heat, and later with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat had the number 23 retired in honor of Michael Jordan, so James had to change his jersey number to the number six. James first wore the number six in an international competition, as a part of Team USA.

Once he got back to Cleveland in the 2014 offseason, James was able to change back to number 23, which he started his career with.

James won his first two championships while wearing the number 6, for the Miami Heat. But his last two championships were while wearing the number 23, for the Cavaliers and the Lakers. But that 2020 season, he had already requested to change his jersey number back to 6. James’ new teammate, Anthony Davis, had also been known to wear the number 23, back on the New Orleans Pelicans.

While Davis settled with his old elementary school number, No. 3, James kept the number 23. A promise to give Davis the number 23 fell out as the duo won a championship that season. Davis felt that the only path was not to change numbers, but to see his number 3, hanging in the rafters. So for one more season, LeBron and AD would choose to keep their numbers.

In 2021, James finally decided to change his number back to six. And after two seasons of wearing six, and near the end of his career, James has come back to 23.

Now entering NBA season 21 of LeBron James, it’s hard to see a chance for any changes now. Especially with LeBron having this one year with the Lakers. After that, James will expectedly sign to where ever his son, Bronny, will be drafted to.

This is an ‘end of career-motivated’ decision, as his basketball days are coming to an end. It will be intriguing to see what powers a number change can give to a 38-year-old LeBron James.

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