LeBron James was ready to give new Lakers teammate Anthony Davis his cherished No. 23 for the upcoming season as a “Welcome to Los Angeles” present. But it looks like James will have to wait to bestow the gift.
Thanks to “production issues and the massive financial hit” that NBA jersey manufacturer Nike would have endured from scrapping the multitudes of No. 23 James jerseys already made, the company was unable to fulfill the request to create No. 23 Davis jerseys, according to Yahoo Sports.
It appears Davis will now wear No. 3 instead.
The Lakers inquired with the NBA about a change for James but were told the deadline on such moves had passed. The league told the Lakers it would have allowed the number change if the team was able to work out a deal with Nike, per Yahoo.
The financial hit would have reached “well into the tens of millions of dollars,” according to ESPN.
James will not change his number this upcoming season “out of consideration for fans who already purchased James’ jersey and to avoid distractions for a team competing for a championship,” per Yahoo.
James recently documented his plan to present Davis with a No. 23 Lakers jersey on his Instagram account.
Davis wore No. 23 in all seven of his seasons with the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, his lone college season with Kentucky and during his high school career at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago.
James wore 23 in his 11 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and his first season with the Lakers. He was expected to wear No. 6 this season after wearing it in his four seasons with the Miami Heat and in the Olympics as a member of Team USA.
The 15-time all-star hadn’t requested to change his number from 23 to 6 for the 2020-2021 season as of Friday, per ESPN. James has until March 15, 2020 to officially file that request.
Davis, who can become a free agent next year if he declines his player option for the 2020-2021 season, will be officially introduced as a Laker in a news conference at 3 p.m. on Saturday.