NBA: The Lakers’ injury-ridden season came to an end after they were knocked out by the Phoenix Suns in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Already preparing for the next season through various offseason moves, LeBron James is rumored to switch back to his old Number 6 jersey.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Tim Cato reported the Los Angeles Lakers star plans to change his jersey number from No. 23 to No. 6 for the 2021-22 NBA season. He previously wore No. 6 during his four-year run with the Miami Heat.
This would ostensibly allow Anthony Davis to assume the No. 23 jersey, which he used for his seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. According to Charania and Cato, Davis is sticking with No. 3.
LA Lakers release the first look at LeBron James’ new jersey, Check out
OFFICIAL: 6⃣ pic.twitter.com/0eynNEoH75
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 14, 2021
Lakers News/Rumors: NBA’s number-changing policy?
The NBA requires players to inform the league more than a year in advance of an expected jersey change.
That’s why, even though LeBron used his 23 as a house-warming gift to Davis when Davis was traded to the Lakers in the summer of 2019, the jersey number swap eventually did not take place.
Lakers News/Rumors: Why is 6 significant to LeBron?
When LeBron first switched to 6 in Miami in 2010, it was not only out of homage to Michael Jordan, whose 23 was retired by the Heat earlier in the decade but also in recognition of Julius Erving who wore 6 in three Olympics.
Whether he was wearing 23 or 6 in games, dating back to his Heat days, James always wore the other in practice, imitating a move by another of James’ heroes, Deion Sanders.
James’ effort to switch back to 6 as part of an effort to gift 23 to Davis in 2019 was well after the league’s March 15 deadline for a request to change numbers. The commercial blow to Nike for a last-minute change was deemed to have been in the tens of millions.
This opens the door for James to potentially have two different numbers retired by the Lakers, an honor already bestowed upon Kobe Bryant (Nos. 8 and 24).
NBA 2021: Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
- LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
- Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
- Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
- Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
- Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
- Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
- Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
- James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
- Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
- Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
- Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
- Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
- Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
- Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards