Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lebron - No More #23 NBA Uniforms

NBA All-Star Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is making a gesture for the goodwill of all basketball-kind. At the end of the 2009-10 season, King James will no longer wear the #23 on his Cavs uniforms, but will instead change to the number 6, his Olympics jersey number. Lebron says he is making this move in an ultimate show of love for NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who is the most famous #23 in basketball history. Jordan entered the hall this year and gave an emotional and inspired speech on his journey to the hardwood as well as all those who made him who he was.

According to

James first made his comments during an on-air interview on TNT following the Cavaliers' victory over the Heat. Jordan was at the game in Miami -- where Heat president Pat Riley retired the number in 2003 even though he never played for the franchise. No Miami player has worn No. 23 since Cedric Ceballos in 2001.

In a rather humble yet bold move, Lebron is urging other players to do the same and stop wearing #23. They would have to make the decision and notify the league by March 2010. While this isn't a league rule or anything, there are 12 other guys active on rosters wearing the famous number. Included in those twelve are several rookies and no real superstars beyond James. Rookie Byron Mullens of Oklahoma City took the number due to the fact his preferred #32 was retired by the Seattle Supersonics organization. Knicks rookie Tony Douglas wasn't sure he wanted to change over from the #23 due to the fact he's idolized MJ growing up and has worn the number on his person since age 3.

One such player who said he will follow suit by dropping the jersey number is Jazz rookie Wesley Matthews. According to Salt Lake Tribune, Matthews said:

"I'm on board," Matthews told The Salt Lake Tribune . "I mean, Jordan has influenced everybody that plays this game and he was my idol growing up. I'm ready. Whenever that time comes, I'm on board with that."

This has been done before. In the MLB, they retired Jackie Robinson's #42, and in the NHL it was the Great One, Wayne Gretzky's #99. It's yet to be done in the NFL or NBA. On its face this seems like a great tribute, but is Michael Jordan really concerned when a player wears #23 and claims he's doing so because Jordan is his idol? Does Jordan feel disrespected by seeing a guy who isn't an all-star on the court bearing his famous numbers?

Knicks fans are upset after shelling out big bucks for Lebron hype gear in the form of #23 silk screened Knicks clothes. However, as mentioned before they already have rookie Tony Douglas displaying the famous numbers on his New York jersey.

It's unknown whether any of the soon to be extinct Lebron jerseys bearing #23 will be a collector's item. There's also no word yet on how many guys wear the #45 on their uniform and do well playing basketball.

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