Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will be changing his jersey number from No. 23 to No. 6 for the start of next season. Anthony Davis is expected to retain the No. 3 jersey that he wore to lift his first NBA championship in the purple and gold in 2020.
James started his NBA career with the No. 23 on his jersey with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He switched to No. 6 when he joined the Miami Heat in 2010 as the franchise had retired their No. 23 jersey in honour of Michael Jordan. He went on to win two titles with the Florida-based franchise.
The Lakers cager returned to No. 23 when he rejoined the Cavaliers in 2015 and led them to their first and his third NBA title in 2016. James then retained the number when he joined the Lakers in 2018, before going on to repeat championship success in 2020 with the purple and gold.
According to the Athletic, James was keen to switch back to No.6 in 2019 when the Lakers acquired Davis, but Nike nixed the plan. The American sportswear giant would have faced tens of millions in losses as they had already produced apparel with James' No.23.
Davis has also decided not to return to the No.23 he wore during his entire career with the Pelicans. He is keen to retain the number that saw him lift his first NBA title, which holds more significance than the number 23, as it was just a number, he was given during his freshman year in college.
James has admitted in the past that him choosing No.23 was an ode to Michael Jordan, while his choice of No.6 was inspired by NBA legends Bill Russell and Julius Erving. The Lakers leader has gone on to wear both numbers, with the No.6 currently being seen on James' training jerseys.
According to ESPN, the dual number is a nod to another of his heroes – Deion Sanders – who wore his college No.2 on his training jersey and No.21 on his playing jersey for most of his NFL career.
The last player on the Lakers roster to wear the No.6 was Lance Stephenson during the 2018-19 season. But before the season starts, James will be seen donning the No.6 jersey in his upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy movie, that is scheduled to be release on July 16.