NBA Updates PH – The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Saturday that NBA star LeBron James, paying tribute to basketball icon Bill Russell, will be donning jersey number 23 for the upcoming season.
James has worn the No. 23 shirt for 14 of his 20 seasons in the NBA. For the last two seasons, he has worn the No. 6 jersey with the Lakers.
Klutch Sports Group CEO Rich Paul, who has known LeBron James for a long time, told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, “It’s up to LeBron.” “He chose to do it out of respect for Bill Russell.”
On July 31, 2022, Bill Russell passed away at the age of 88. During his career with the Boston Celtics, he achieved 11 championships and was honored with the NBA MVP award five times. After his death, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said that the Hall of Famer’s No. 6 would be honored across the league. They also said that players who were wearing it at the time could keep wearing it.
CNN tried to get in touch with Klutch Sports Group but didn’t hear back right away.
Bill Russell was a great athlete, and the NBA Finals MVP trophy is named after him. He played a significant role as a civil rights activist in the sports community and marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. He also backed the famous boxer Muhammad Ali when he didn’t want to join the military.
In February 2011, Bill Russell was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest citizen honor in the United States.
“It broke our hearts to lose such a legend,” LeBron James told ESPN before the start of last season. It doesn’t matter if you play, watch, or are a part of the game. We all know how heroic Bill Russell was, both on and off the court, for the NBA and the Celtics. And what he meant to us Black people was being able to talk about uncomfortable things at a time when it wasn’t comfortable for most people to do so.
“It means a lot to me to be able to wear No. 6 this season. I don’t know if I’ll keep doing it, but for now, I’ll do it to honor him. It’s very important to me,” he said.
LeBron James is the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored. For his first seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he wore No. 23, and when he played for Team USA in foreign games, he wore No. 6.
When LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, the team had already removed the number 23 in honor of Michael Jordan, so James wore the number 6. He played for the Miami Heat for four seasons. When the 38-year-old player went back to the Cavaliers in 2014, he chose to wear No. 23 again. He did this until the end of his third season with the LA Lakers in 2021.
The four-time NBA champion’s shirt was the most popular one in the second half of last season on NBAStore.com.