LeBron James Will Not Wear No. 23 Next Season

Euno LeeCorrespondent INovember 13, 2009

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 27:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers puts up a shot against Rasheed Wallace #30 of the Boston Celtics during the season opener at Quicken Loans Arena on October 27, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Although none of us (including Lebron) know what jersey LeBron James will be wearing next season, we know what number he WON'T be wearing.  In a post-game interview with Craig Sager, LeBron James extolled Michael Jordan's legacy and announced multiple times that he will not be wearing the No. 23 next season, and went onto say, "I don't think anyone in the NBA should be wearing the No. 23." 

It doesn't take a numerology buff to know that the number 23 is symbolic of excellence.  It also means big shoes.  In 2003, when LeBron James was drafted with the No. 1 pick and a No. 23 jersey, it was also symbolic; James, for the $90 million Nike contract, for all the hype that surrounded him, had big shoes to fill. 

The No. 23 gave him more pressure, and made those proverbial big shoes impossibly huge.  For being the first player to average 30/7/7 since His Airness averaged 32/8/8 in 1989, LeBron James became the most complete perimeter player since Jordan himself, and as for those shoes, came frighteningly close to filling them.

The idea of a number change also shows how much LeBron has matured as a person.  He was already mature to begin with, but his number choice has always had its fair share of detractors, including this writer, who once wrote that it was disrespectful to so much as invoke the number without proper fanfare.

Instead, LeBron James told Sager that he will probably wear No. 6 next season, and it was perhaps the wisest postgame decision James has ever made.  A number change not only speaks to his respect for those who came before him (namely Jordan), but also the beginning of a legacy entirely his own. 

There are few players with the opportunity to change the way a number is viewed, and the one player who does just that, who did it with the No. 23, is an icon of the game.  Here's a believer that the No. 6 will give LeBron James the opportunity to make his mark, even if it DOES coincide with the mark of the beast.

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