Ever since LeBron James entered the NBA straight out of high school, and even while he was still in high school, he has worn the #23 on his jersey. He does it as a tribute to his favorite player growing up, some cat named Michael Jordan. Well, needless to say, LeBron has honored MJ’s old number quite nicely, and for a generation of kids watching the NBA now the number may end up more synonymous with James than with Jordan.
It should be noted though that the #23 isn’t the only jersey LeBron has enjoyed wearing. Ever since wearing the #6 with Team USA during the Olympics, King James has been fond of wearing the jersey number during Cavs practices and even on the bench during games. So is LeBron thinking about pulling a Kobe and changing his jersey number in the future?
“It’s interesting to think about. I feel like 6 is my number, too,” James said about the prospect of switching.
“If the NBA retired 23 because of Michael (Jordan) like baseball did with Jackie Robinson (42), I would definitely switch it. Maybe I would someday, we’ll see.”
The idea isn’t too far-fetched. As I alluded to earlier, Kobe Bryant switched from the #8 to #24 in 2006, and MJ himself did that whole unfortunate #45 experiment. Not to mention, the switch would have a marketing impact.
Kobe’s jersey had dipped in sales before he switched and then it immediately jumped back up to being the league’s top-seller. LeBron has fallen to third place behind Kobe and Kevin Garnett, and no doubt switching his number would change that. Oh, and let’s not act as though the Cavaliers wouldn’t support this move.
After all, is there any other team that has more alternate jerseys — each one uglier than the last — than the Cavs? You do realize that the reason the team does that is so fans have a whole bunch of different LeBron jerseys to buy. Switching numbers would increase sales of all the different Cavs jerseys and that would mean more money for the team and James.