SportsWhy LeBron James is switching jersey back to No. 23 again from...

Why LeBron James is switching jersey back to No. 23 again from No. 6

LeBron James speaks to the media. (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out)
For the third time in his career, LeBron James is switching jersey number back to No. 23.
According to LBJ’s agent, Klutch Sports founder Rich Paul, King James is relinquishing the bestselling jersey in the NBA this past season — his Lakers’ No. 6 — in honor of the late legendary Bill Russell who passed away in the summer of 2022 at the age of 88.Russell, who won 11 championships in 13 years as a player and the NBA’s first Black head coach during his tenure with the Boston Celtics, had his No. 6 jersey retired throughout the NBA. However, the caveat was that those who were already wearing No. 6 jerseys, like King James, could continue to wear them for as long as they wanted, but there will never be anyone given Russell’s number ever again.
“It’s LeBron’s decision,” Paul told ESPN. “He chose to out of respect for Bill Russell.”James came into the league 20 years ago wearing the No. 23 for the Cavs in honor of Michael Jordan. However, James changed to No. 6 when he took his talents to the Miami Heat in 2010 because the team had retired Jordan’s jersey.
The league’s all-time leading scorer changed back to 23 when he went back to Cleveland after four years in South Beach, and then, when he left for Los Angeles, James continued to wear it for the first three years for the Lakers. James then changed to No. 6 again to allow teammate Anthony Davis the ability to wear No. 23 — which AD already wore when he was traded to the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Now, LeBron is going back to No. 23 for probably the final time. He has worn the number for 14 of his 20 seasons.
James, who is equally heralded and despised for speaking out on social issues, has reverence for Russell who fought racial inequality during the apex of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
“For us to lose such an icon, it was heartbreaking for all of us,” James told ESPN in the summer of 2022. “I mean, no matter if you play the game, watch the game or a part of the game. We all know what Bill Russell meant to the NBA, obviously to the Celtics off the floor as well, as far as his heroism … and what he meant to Black people, being able to speak about issues that are not comfortable.
“For me to be able to wear No. 6 this season — I’m not sure if I’ll continue to do it, but right now I’m going to wear it in honor of him. It means a lot to me.”

Source: Rolling Out

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