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The 2023 ESPYS - Show

LeBron James thrilled his legion of fans and put haters on notice when he announced at the ESPY Awards last week that he will return to the Los Angeles Lakers for his 21st NBA season. LeBron James has worn the number six but with the league retiring the number after the passing of NBA legend Bill Russell, King James will switch back to 23 out of respect.

News of the jersey number switch for LeBron James came via a report from ESPN that over the weekend, Rich Paul, James’ agent, and member of his inner circle, shared that his client will be donning the new number on the back of his jersey this coming season.

“It’s LeBron’s decision,” Paul told ESPN. “He chose to out of respect for Bill Russell.”

Russell, who brought championship glory to the Boston Celtics many times over, died last year at 88. The NBA decided to retire Russell’s number six jersey number league-wide, which was the first that that has ever happened. If a current NBA player donned the number six they could keep the number if they so choose.

As the outlet suggests, jersey sales with James’ number will be in high demand as his number six replica jersey was a hot seller last year. Fans can expect to be on a long list of potential owners of a number 23 LeBron James jersey when the season launches this fall.

Photo: Gilbert Flores / Getty