November 13, 2009
Out of respect for the greatest basketball player of all-time — and/or in an effort to increase merchandising sales — Cavaliers star LeBron James says he will trade in his No. 23 uniform number for No. 6 after this season.
LeBron made the comments following Thursday night's win in Miami. Jordan, as you might have guessed, was in attendance to subtly remind the world about his new 25th anniversary sneakers. Do these guys have timing or what?
"I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon," James said. "There would be no LeBron James(notes), no Kobe Bryant(notes), no Dwyane Wade(notes) if there wasn't Michael Jordan first.
"He can't get the logo, and if he can't, something has to be done. I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I'm starting a petition, and I've got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. Now, if I'm not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it."
It shouldn't take much for James to convince his peers. With an assist from Basketball-Reference, Tom Ziller at the FanHouse culls the names of players currently wearing No. 23 in the league. The list:
Devin Brown(notes), Marcus Camby(notes), Toney Douglas(notes) (who has the gall to wear it in New York! New York!), Stephen Graham(notes), Kevin Martin(notes), Wes Matthews, Jodie Meeks(notes), Jason Richardson(notes), C.J. Watson(notes), Martell Webster(notes) and Louis Williams(notes).
Stars switching numbers is hardly unprecedented in the NBA. In 2006, Kobe Bryant switched his No. 8 for No. 24 and sold a few zillion jerseys in the process. When Jordan came out of his first retirement, after the Bulls had sent No. 23 to the rafters, he wore No. 45 for 22 games before switching back.
Why No. 6? Well, LeBron has his reasons. The No. 6 was James' Olympic number, Julius Erving, who rocked it, is second-favorite player ever, and LBJ's first child was born on Oct. 6; his second in June (the sixth month).
That's right; LeBron James, numerologist.