LeBron James, the NBA’s all-time points leader, is making a change once again by switching his jersey number back to his original 23. James had previously worn No. 23 during both his stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but switched to No. 6 when he joined the Miami Heat. He later reverted to No. 23 when he returned to Cleveland and briefly kept it when he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers before switching back to No. 6 for the 2021-22 season.
According to James’ agent, Rich Paul, the decision to give up the number 6 was made as a tribute to Bill Russell. After Russell’s passing last year, the NBA announced that his number 6 would be retired league-wide. However, players who were already wearing the number were allowed to continue doing so, including James. This situation is similar to MLB players who were wearing No. 42 when it was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997 and were allowed to keep wearing it.
Entering his 21st season in the NBA, James briefly contemplated retirement but ultimately decided to continue playing. He expressed his commitment to the game during the ESPYs, stating that the day he can no longer give everything on the court is the day he’ll retire. In his 20th season at ages 37 and 38, James maintained impressive stats, averaging 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists.
With this change, James will once again don the iconic No. 23 jersey, which holds significant meaning for him and basketball fans worldwide.
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers points at the two retired jerseys in the rafters to honor Kobe Bryant before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on January 31, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/
A detailed view of LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers jersey against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on December 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)