NBA: LeBron James returns to No. 23 in honor of Bill Russell | Inquirer Sports

NBA: LeBron James returns to No. 23 in honor of Bill Russell

/ 12:10 PM July 17, 2023

LeBron James Lakers NBA

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 30, 2022 LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after hitting a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

LeBron James will switch his jersey number from 6 to 23 for his 21st NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers announced.

The move, confirmed Saturday night on social media by the Lakers, is a tribute to the late NBA legend Bill Russell, whose jersey No. 6 was retired last year after his death, James’s agent Rich Paul told ESPN.


Players who were wearing 6, like James, were allowed to continue wearing the number. James did so for the 2022-23 campaign in honor of Russell, an 11-time NBA champion and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, but has decided to show his respect this season by picking another number.


It’s the fourth NBA number change for James, who returns to 23, which he wore to start his career and at stops throughout his two decades in the league.

James wore 23 in high school and when he first played for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When he left the Cavs for the Miami Heat in 2010, he changed to 6 as the Heat had retired 23 as a tribute to NBA legend Michael Jordan.

In 2014, when James returned to the Cavaliers, he switched back to 23 and kept that number until 2021, when he went back to 6 so new Lakers teammate Anthony Davis could have 23, a number Davis ultimately did not take.

James, who was wearing 6 when he set the all-time NBA scoring record last season, announced on Wednesday that he would play in the NBA for a 21st season.

The four-time NBA champion and four-time MVP turns 39 in December and has said he would like to play in the NBA alongside his son Bronny James, who is set to be drafted next year.


LeBron James says he will play for Lakers in upcoming NBA season

NBA: LeBron James played with torn tendon in foot

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: Lebron James, NBA

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.