NPR logo LeBron James Won't Wear '23' Next Year To Honor Michael Jordan


LeBron James Won't Wear '23' Next Year To Honor Michael Jordan

LeBron James has sold a lot of jerseys bearing his number 23 to his legion of fans.

But next year, if those fans want to stay current, they'll have to buy new LeBron jerseys, likely with the number 6. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar announced last night he'll personally retire his use of the number 23 next year as a tribute to Michael Jordan.

James thinks the entire league should retire the number Jordan famously wore out of respect to Jordan who attended Thursday night's game between Cleveland and the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers won on the road and spoiled Miami superstar Dwayne Wade's debut of his new "Air Jordan" line of basketball shoes.

By the way, the 6' 4" Wade had one of the all-time nastiest dunks during Thursday night's game, jumping over Cleveland's 6' 11" Anderson Varejao who was sent flying backwards from Wade's momentum.

Anyway, James wants to see the NBA to do what the National Hockey League did with Wayne Gretzky's number 99, which was retired by all the teams in the NHL. So far, only the Chicago Bulls, the team Jordan won six championships with, and the Miami Heat have retired His Airness' jersey.

James said:

I've been thinking about it lately and you know I think what I'm going to do, I think I'm going to change my number next year. I think no guy in the NBA should ever wear 23. He can't get the NBA logo, much respect to Jerry West. So I think his number shouldn't be worn by any player in the NBA. So I'm thinking about changing my number next year. Just to show the tribute that, what he did for this game, the pioneer, everybody he laid down the steppingstones for everybody. I'm going to change my number next year. That's how much respect I have for a guy like that.