LeBron James jersey number: Why Lakers star is switching from 6 back to 23

In the upcoming season, James is scheduled to transition from No. 6 to No. 23, returning for a third period with his initial number. Don’t fret, Lakers supporters: He’s merely altering his jersey number – once more.

In 2021, James initially wore jersey number 23 with the Lakers before switching to jersey number 6. He won a championship with LA, but the franchise also experienced some dark moments in the last two seasons. The change in jersey number could symbolize a change in fortune for both the Lakers and James.

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Here’s what you should know about the reason why James has chosen to go back to Number 23.

James is voluntarily making the switch from No. 6 to No. 23 as a result of the NBA’s league-wide retirement of 6 in tribute to Bill Russell in 2022.

As per James’ representative, Rich Paul, James is opting for the choice “as a show of reverence towards Bill Russell,” however, NBA regulations permitted James and any other individual donning No. 6 to be exempted and persist in donning the same number.

LeBron James will change his uniform from No. 6 to No. 23 next season. “It’s LeBron’s decision,” Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group told ESPN. “He chose to out of respect for Bill Russell.” The NBA retired No. 6 league-wide last August; James wore it a final season to honor Russell

He said, “It means a lot to me. I’m going to wear Russell’s honor now, but I’ll continue to do it if I’m not sure – this season I’ll be able to wear No. 6 for me,”. James hinted to ESPN that he had made a decision.

In the year 2021, he made a change to the number 6 in order to free up the number 23 for his teammate Anthony Davis, who currently wears the number 3. James wore the number 6 for the previous two seasons, having previously worn the number 23 for his first three seasons in Los Angeles, which included the Lakers’ victorious campaign in 2020.

The 2023-24 season will mark James’ 15th year donning the number 23.

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History of LeBron James’ Jersey Numbers

This is James’ fourth jersey number alteration in his extensive career.

LeBron James has competed for different teams during his career. He dedicated 7 years to the Cavaliers between 2003 and 2010, then became a member of the Heat for 4 years from 2010 to 2014. Following his return to the Cavaliers for another 7 years from 2014 to 2021, he played for both the Cavaliers and the Lakers. Starting from 2021 until 2023, he played for the Lakers donning jersey number 6, and from 2023 until now, he has been representing the Lakers while wearing jersey number 23.

James carried his high school number, 23, throughout all seven seasons of his first stint in Cleveland, but when he joined the Miami Heat in 2010, he decided to start fresh and wore number 6 during both of his championship runs with the team.

James initially joined the Lakers when he agreed to wear the No. 3 jersey that Davis had already chosen for the year 2021. Due to limited availability, there was insufficient time to obtain No. 6 jerseys, so James had to wait until 2021 to make the switch. In an effort to accommodate Davis wearing No. 23, James attempted to switch to No. 6 in 2020 but ultimately decided to continue wearing No. 23 at the beginning of his time with the Lakers.

In October, when he steps onto the court, James will have donned 23 for 15 out of his 21 seasons up until now.