LeBron James has announced that he will be giving up jersey number 23 for Lakers teammate Anthony Davis following this season.
The King has worn the number 23 jersey for all but 4 years of his Heat tenure. James couldn’t wear number 23 in Miami since the franchise had retired it in honor of Michael Jordan during his final season with the Wizards. He instead wore number 6, which is due to be retired once James calls time on his career.
.@KingJames says he’s still gonna give his No. 23 jersey to AD after this season.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 5, 2020
Anthony Davis himself wore number 23 for all 7 seasons of his time in New Orleans. He only made the playoffs twice in those 7 years, but his contributions to the franchise mean that they might still retire his jersey.
Why Anthony Davis will get number 23 jersey next season from LeBron James
When the Lakers completed the AD trade, one of the conditions that AD gave to the Lakers was that he wanted the number 23 jersey. James graciously decided to give it up to his teammate.
However, Nike stepped in and forced James and the Lakers to retain the jersey number last season. They cited manufacturing issues for the same, since they’d already received many pre-bookings for the LeBron 23 jersey.
This led to the Lakers handing the number 3 to Davis for the 2019-20 season. Now, the 2020-21 season is upon us and will begin in around 2 weeks. Due to the short offseason, there wasn’t enough turnaround time for Nike to accomodate AD’s request once again.
James giving up the number 23 jersey to Davis next season likely means that he considers the upcoming season to be his last at the peak of the NBA. It could also mean that his number 23 jersey wouldn’t be retired by the Lakers – especially if AD plays out his career with them.