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LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up before playing against the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in Los Angeles on May 20, 2023.
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LeBron James’ Decision to Switch Back to Number 23
Following two seasons donning the No. 6 jersey for the Lakers, LeBron James has decided to reclaim his iconic No. 23, the number he wore for the majority of his illustrious career.
The Significance of Bill Russell and the Retirement of Number 6
In 2022, the basketball world mourned the loss of the legendary Bill Russell. As a tribute, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association decided to retire Russell’s No. 6 jersey across the league, while permitting current players who already wore the number to retain it.
James’ Respect for Russell’s Legacy
Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports Group and a close friend of James, stated that the decision to switch back to No. 23 was made out of respect for the late Bill Russell, acknowledging his contributions to the sport.
James’ Jersey Number History
LeBron James initially wore No. 23 during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, then switched to No. 6 during his stint with the Miami Heat. He returned to No. 23 upon rejoining the Cavaliers and continued to wear it until the end of his third season with the Lakers.
LeBron James‘ return to jersey number 23 symbolizes his admiration for the late Bill Russell and his profound impact on the game of basketball. The decision reflects James’ respect for a basketball icon and his desire to honor Russell’s legacy.