March 02, 2010
After first floating the idea in November, LeBron James(notes) will be following through on his plan to honor the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, by changing his uniform number from 23 to 6. The paperwork for the change was filed Monday, just in time to beat the Wednesday deadline.
"I've done it," LeBron told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I already sent it in. I'm going to be No. 6." Now, the league just has to approve the switch, which it will because LeBron's new jersey is sure to be a best-seller, just like when Kobe Bryant(notes) switched from 8 to 24 or Andray Blatche(notes) from 32 to 7. OK, that last one might not have had jerseys flying off shelves.
While LeBron's tribute is pretty cool, it also seems a little off to me. I'm not going to dispute the greatness of Michael Jordan, but there have been some pretty legendary number 6's in NBA history. Guys you may have heard of like Bill Russell and Julius Erving. And also Bonzi Wells, but that's a different story.
Furthermore, LeBron's new number means he'll need a new symbol from Nike, as his current "Crown" design prominently features the number 23. Perhaps, in another ode to Jordan, James will make his "Dunkman" character his primary logo. Up to this point, "Dunkman" has been featured on his shoes, but usually in out of the way places such as the soles. It'll be interesting to see what happens as LeBron's current logo has appeared on all his clothes, shoes, and even Ohio State's uniforms.
This should also be an encouraging sign to fans of the Cavaliers. Were he planning on leaving, there would be no need to petition the league to wear a new number as he'd be wearing an entirely new jersey anyways. LeBron asking for a number change is a way of saying he's at least considering staying in Cleveland. However, we should also mention that 23 is retired in Miami. Start theorizing about conspiracies.
Considering it's just a guy switching numbers, there's a lot to think about here. So much, in fact, that I can't find a way to fit in a Cedric Ceballos joke. Wait, that just did it.