Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has officially changed his jersey number from 23 to 6, the team announced. James had previously tried to make the switch, but the move was blocked by Nike as the deadline to change jerseys had passed and there was still a massive supply of James’ No. 23 jerseys in retail.
This time James had informed the NBA of his intent to make the change a year ago and well before the deadline so he will not be forced to pay any money in order to clear out the remaining stock.
The number 6 is one James has worn previously as he donned the number for four seasons as a member of the Miami Heat, a time in his career in which many believe James was at his absolute peak. For his part, James took to Twitter to show his satisfaction with the change being official:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 14, 2021
The 2021 season was a rough one for James due to injury. A high ankle sprain limited him to just 45 games though he was still extremely effective when on the court. LeBron averaged 25 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists this year while shooting 51.3% from the field and 36.5% from 3-point range, both his best in a Lakers uniform.
The jersey switch for James has to do with his upcoming movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy, which is set to release in July as he sports the number in the film. But, perhaps surprisingly, his jersey change will not result in one for Anthony Davis.
James famously gifted Davis the No. 23 jersey when he was traded to the Lakers but the latter went with No. 3 when the former’s original switch was denied. Even with the number open now, however, Davis reportedly will not be switching back to the number which he had worn throughout his NBA career previously.
Davis believes it was clear James wasn’t 100% healthy in playoffs
Of course fans will be greatly anticipating James back on the court in that No. 6 when next season kicks off after this year ended in disappointment with a first-round playoff exit. James had returned from injury before the playoffs, but never quite looked like himself and Davis confirmed that he was not completely healthy in the playoffs.
“He wasn’t 100% healthy and I think you guys know that… I think he also is gonna need that time to let the ankle fully heal.
“But it was more, and especially when he first came back, a lot of jump shots. I don’t think he trusted the ankle a lot because with everything you do, he’s moving the ankle so he plays downhill and jumps and attacks and come off pick-and-rolls, do a lot of movement so his ankle has to be good. But like I said, he was still very effective for us when he came back.”
Injuries doomed the Lakers this season, but with James and Davis at full strength, the Lakers will be looking to return to the top of the NBA next year.
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