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Poll: LeBron James to Sport #6 Next Season

Posted by Neil Paine on March 2, 2010

From ESPN:

"James filed paperwork to switch from No. 23 to No. 6, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Monday. He beat a Wednesday deadline to make the request.

The All-Star said in November that he was thinking of giving up 23 out of respect for his hero Michael Jordan, but at that time he was '50-50,' according to the newspaper.

'I've done it,' James told the Plain Dealer. 'I already sent it in. I'm going to be No. 6.'"

Okay, so what do you think?

23 Responses to “Poll: LeBron James to Sport #6 Next Season”

  1. Ryan Says:

    Can somebody explain to me why or how it took 7 years for Lebron to unveil his ultimate respect for Jordan? Why take the number in the first place? Its not like Jordan's legacy suddenly became more deserving of respect.

  2. Joe Says:

    Coming into the league Lebron thought he could be the next MJ, and he chose 23 because he wanted to evoke all the 23 vs. 23 debates. Now he has finally come to realization that he can't live up to MJ's legacy, so he is switching his number to prevent looking like a fool.

  3. Jason J Says:

    I have a few distinct reactions to this.

    First I think it’s great that LeBron wants to pay homage to his favorite. I totally understand where he’s coming from, and kudos to him for following through after talking it up a couple months ago.

    Then I think it sucks that the diehard young fans who already bought the old jersey are the ones who are going to feel compelled to get the new one and are the ones who probably shouldn’t spend the money – I don’t particularly begrudge James / Cleveland for wanting that money though.

    And then I think that whole the point was so that Cleveland (and possibly the whole league) could retire the number the way Miami did, right? But as I recall, Jordan tore the beating hearts from millions of Cavs fans (and several other franchises) and stomped on them over the years. Doesn’t it make them feel better to have their new hero redeeming the number than to have their old antagonist immortalized?

  4. PJ Says:

    Funny that he's showing respect to Jordan, but not to Bill Russell, the original #6.

    I like the idea generally, though I might have suggested #7 instead.

  5. Gabe Says:

    I agree with PJ.

    He wants to show respect to MJ, but not to Bill Russell?

    Doesn't make sense to me.

  6. Luke Says:

    It's nice to see LeBron following through on something ridiculous he said in the heat of the moment, unlike his participation in the dunk contest...

  7. Tsunami Says:

    It's just too bad Shannon Brown was so horrible - all the Lakers fans had me thinking I was going to be in for a real treat.

  8. Brandon Says:

    The funny thing would be if he went to a team that already had the number six retired and he couldn't wear it.

  9. Luke Says:

    Also, (and I don't think this will ever happen, but still...) I'm going to be extremely upset if the NBA ever mandates that Jordan's number be retired league-wide. This isn't a Jackie Robinson type of situation where the man went through hell in order to be treated like a human being and score a huge win for civil rights. Jordan was just the best player. (I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to Jackie Robinson as the greatest baseball player of all time, either.) If some team like Miami decides it wants to retire the guy's number, fine, but there's absolutely no reason any other team should be forced to do it. It would just be ridiculous for Jordan's number to be in a place of honor in Phoenix or Utah or Los Angeles or any number of other places where he stood in the way of their hopes of a title. I don't know about you, but I personally wouldn't want to be reminded of that every time I go to a game. (I'm sure Bulls/Jordan fans would love that, but the league really shouldn't be mandating things that will piss off 29/30ths of their fan base.) Plus, would teams that already have #23 retired have to raise another banner with Jordan's name and number on it, too? Probably. But in the event that they'd get out of it with that loophole, I'd be scrambling to come up with some other reason to retire the number before I had to retire it for Jordan. If I were the Suns, I'd retire #23 for Cedric Ceballos before I'd retire it for Michael Jordan.

    I just don't see the point in retiring a number league-wide just because he was "the greatest player ever." What happens when someone comes along who's better? Do you just unretire it? And yeah, I know it's inconceivable now that anyone could ever be better than Jordan, but I'm sure there was a time when people thought there'd be no one better than Russell or Wilt, then Kareem, then Magic or Bird. That's five numbers right there that would never again be worn league-wide: 6, 13, 33, 32, and whatever Bird would've had to settle with because 33 would have already been retired for Kareem.

    If a player doesn't want to wear a number out of respect, or if a team doesn't want the number worn out of respect, that's perfectly fine. But wearing another player's number is often times a huge sign of respect as well. You really shouldn't take that option away from players unless its for extreme and/or unique circumstances (like Jackie Robinson).

    Okay, rant over. For now.

  10. Neil Paine Says:

    It's interesting, Jackie Robinson wasn't the greatest player in baseball history but he was probably the most important player... Meanwhile, Jordan is probably the greatest player in basketball history -- but is he the most important?

  11. P Middy Says:

    The number six is quite significant for LBJ. Son's birthday is the 6th, Jordan's # of rings, Russell's the greatest winner of all time - his # is 6.

    What I don't get is dropping the number out of respect. Is it so bad to do amazing things with your idol's number? It's seems more respectful, more of a tribute to keep the number and aspire to Jordan. I mean, it's only disrespectful if you're in danger of making Jordan the second guy they think of when the #23 comes up, right?

    The jersey sales has to be part of it too. Any idea what the royalties players get on their jersey sales is?

  12. Jason J Says:

    We should remember that LeBron IS honoring Russell by wearing his jersey. Also that LeBron is only 26, so where Jordan is someone he idolized growing up, Russ is just a famous name. It's the difference between having a formative personal hero and hearing stories about your grandfather's formative personal hero.

  13. P Middy Says:

    Jordan shot the league beyond a level that Bird and Magic even could - marketing appeal, financial success, product integration, dynasty. I imagine he's got to be the most important player as well as its greatest.

  14. KneeJerkNBA Says:

    And don't forget that LeBron's a Free Mason and this is his way of paying tribute to Satan.

  15. Chris Says:

    He wants the league to retire #23. He hopes that by changing his number other players will be inspired to do so also. I doubt it'll happen, but it's worth a shot I guess.

  16. shawn Says:

    fisrt i love LBJ he is the best player in the league rite now but if he wants to pay homage to MJ than do that but if you re going to do like this by changing your number get a number that isnt a legacy find your own totally its a 101 different numbers to choose from!!!

  17. Bob Says:

    I think this whole situation is being blown out of proportion. He changed his number to either boost jersey sales, or because he genuinely feels that way about Jordan. Now he'll create a legacy as #6, end of story.

  18. David Says:

    IMO, Bill Russell WAS the most important player in NBA history. Jordan had a very strong commercial effect that was far greater than any other player, but Bill was the first of everything. First Black Superstar, First Black Coach, First Black Championship Coach, First Black GM- all in the face of blatant racism of the late 50's and 1960's. As a result he ushered in the opportunity for guys like Lenny Wilkens, Al Attles, KC Jones, and Doc Rivers to become Championship Coaches as well. He also paved the way for players like Kareem and Jordan and now LeBron.
    As far as Bron changing Jersey numbers, I think it's pretty much a marketing ploy devised to make new money and some consideration given to the MJ factor. Seeing how much of a jerk MJ was, and is,(In light of his HOF speech) it probably is a good idea for Bron to distance himself from anything relating to Mike at all anyway...
    I'm all for #6. The biggest winner in game history sure did alright with it...

  19. Ricardo Says:

    This is crap. When I run the world, I am going to insist that a player pick his number when he starts his career and he is tethered to that number for the duration of his career. He may not change it unless he is changing teams and that number is unavailable on his new team. Once his number is established on the new team, that is his number for the duration of his career.

    If a player goes to a team and a retired player offers his retired number to the new player, I'm OK with that.

  20. Trev Says:

    I would hope they never retire 23 league-wide. What ever happened to the "Be Like Mike" Nike ad campaign? It even became a Lil' Bow Wow movie.

    Speaking of numbers, is there anyway to throw some stats up on the numbers pages?

    In terms of low-priority pipe dreams, it'd be great to have stats like those on the draft pages. Especially if the stats corresponded to the years of a players career in which he wore said number.

  21. Ryan Says:

    David, "in light of Michael Jordan's HOF speech"? What did Jordan show us in his speech that he hadn't already shown us throughout his career? SMFH.

    Take that personality away from Mike and he isn't Mike to begin with. Maybe you only ever took notice of his smile... but I happened to focus more on his rage. Michael was a psychopath of sorts.

  22. Sean Says:

    Retiring Jordan's #23 league wide would be ridiculous. LeBron can change his number all he wants-----but please, spare us the grief that 'if I (LeBron) am willing to give it up---everyone should' nonsense. Switching to #6 to honor Dr. J now? Isn't that dissing Bill Russell? Whatever, LeBron.

  23. kevin Says:

    i think that 23 should have been retired along time ago. it should have been retired league-wide back when he retired it to play baseball. honestly are we that out of numbers that we cant retire the greats? retire jordans and birds and maybe even paul pierce lol but definately pippen and kobe and dim as a lightbulb shaq lol we have plently of numbers we can reuse plus if they wanna use a greats number they need permission from the player. is that far fetched? i think it would be great to do it that way. look at bo jackson. bo played every sport from football to basketball to baseball why isnt all his numbers retired? the man was a triple threat.