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NBA

Will LeBron James change his number on Lakers? NBA retires Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey

The NBA has retired Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey to honor his legacy on and off the court. Will LeBron James change his number?

Update:
The NBA has retired Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey to honor his legacy on and off the court. Will LeBron James change his number?
EZRA SHAWAFP

The NBA 2022-23 season took off last night, and all the players wore a small badge with the number six on their right shoulder in honor of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell.

The winningest athlete in US professional sports history passed away in July this year, and the league is paying him tribute by retiring his number six for all teams and having it on all the players’ jerseys this entire season.

Major League Baseball’s Jackie Robinson and the National Hockey League’s Wayne Gretzky are the only other athletes in North American pro sports who have received the honor of having their jersey numbers retired across the whole league in which they played.

Will LeBron James change his jersey number?

As the NBA has stated that the number six would never be issued again, what does this mean for players who presently wear it? Would they have to switch?

Six is a very popular numeral, with 25 players using it in the past NBA season. Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is the most noteworthy among them, and he won’t have to change his number, just like everyone else who already bears it on their uniform. They can continue to use the number if they want to do so: teams will only avoid giving the number six to anyone else moving forward.

Some players might choose to change numbers even if they are allowed to wear it, just as several of them switched from number eight or number 24 when Lakers icon Kobe Bryant passed away in January 2020.

So, if LeBron chooses to eventually change his jersey number it would be because he wants to, not because he has to.

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