Why Did LeBron Change His Number? Is There a Deeper Meaning Behind the Switch?

Why Did Lebron Change His Number

Why Did Lebron Change His Number? This question has left several fans confused as they don’t know which number he’ll be using now. LeBron James revealed this week that he will return to the NBA for his 21st season, but he will not be wearing the same jersey as the previous two years. 

Don’t worry, Lakers fans: He’s just changing his jersey number a second time. Next season, James will transition from No. 6 to No. 23, returning to his old number for a third time.

James wore 23 with the Lakers at first before moving to 6 in 2021. With 23 on his jersey, he won a title for LA, but the previous two seasons with 6 have brought some bad experiences for the team. Could a change in jersey number lead to a turnaround for James and the Lakers?

Here’s everything you need to know about James’ decision to return to No. 23. 

Why Did LeBron Change his Number?

James is willingly going from No. 6 to No. 23 because the NBA will retire No. 6 in honor of Bill Russell in 2022.

NBA regulations allow James and anybody else wearing No. 6 to be grandfathered in and continue to wear the number, but James is doing so “out of respect for Bill Russell,” according to Rich Paul, James’ agent.

Last September, James told ESPN that he needed to make a choice about wearing No. 6. “I’m not sure if I’ll continue to wear No. 6 this season, but for the time being, I’m going to wear it in honor of [Russell].” “It means a great deal to me,” he remarked.

After wearing 23 during his first three seasons in Los Angeles, including the Lakers’ championship run in 2020, James has spent the following two seasons wearing 6. In 2021, he shifted to 6 to free up 23 for teammate Anthony Davis, who now wears 3.

The 2023-24 season will be James’ 15th wearing the No. 23 jersey. 

LeBron James Jersey Number History

In his long career, James has changed his jersey number four times.

232014-21Cavaliers, Lakers

James brought his high school number, 23, with him to the NBA and wore it for the entire seven seasons of his first stint in Cleveland. When he joined the Heat in 2010, he vowed to start again.

He wore number six during both of his championship runs in Miami, but switched back to number 23 when he returned to Cleveland.

During his first season with the Lakers, James elected to wear the number 23. He attempted to switch to 6 in 2020 to allow Davis to wear 23, but had to wait a year because there wasn’t enough time for No. 6 jerseys to arrive. 

When James switched to No. 6 in 2021, Davis elected to preserve the No. 3 he accepted when he initially joined the Lakers.

When James returns to the court in October, he will have worn the number 23 for 15 of his 21 seasons.

Final Thoughts

James wore the No. 23 jersey at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and continued to wear it after being drafted first overall by the Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft. James has frequently credited Michael Jordan, the NBA’s most renowned No. 23, as an inspiration.