In a decision with far-reaching implications for jersey manufacturers, LeBron James has decided to return to wearing No. 23 with the Cavaliers. James had worn that number during his first stint with Cleveland (and previously during high school) but had switched to No. 6 when he joined the Heat in 2010.
James announced the number change via his Instagram account, with this commment:
“23 it is! It’s only right I go back. 2·3=6 We still family 6. #HomeTeam #StriveForGreatness”
After a November 2009 Cavaliers game (against the Heat, ironically) which Michael Jordan attended, James said that he would change his number from 23 to 6. “I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon,” James said at the time. “I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I’m starting a petition, and I’ve got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. Now, if I’m not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it.”
The NBA has never formally retired the number 23 in honor of Jordan, and a player can change jersey numbers whenever they change teams (they can petition to do so at other times). About a week ago, James asked his Instagram followers, “6 or 23?……”
Most of the commenters on that post voted for No. 23, so perhaps James is just giving the people what they want.