James' decision to swap jerseys: an honor or marketing ploy?
Yes, there certainly is some veracity to James' claim that he is
It all gets a bit tangled when you're trying to honor somebody, doesn't it?
Jordan obviously was a fantastic player, maybe even the best. But that's debatable, and Jordan certainly is not the only player who transcended the sport.
Oh, yeah, let's not forget about
If the NBA is going to start retiring numbers, shouldn't it start with the men who laid the foundation for the league instead of honoring the one man with whom today's generation most closely relates? Sure, history is written by whichever side wins the war. But let's not allow the contemporary players to pen the league's history simply because they are currently holding the largest Sharpie.
As with everything LeBron, particularly in this endless year of divination regarding his impending free agency, there is no shortage of speculation that can be rendered from his decision-making. For instance, what does this latest twist mean about where he will end up next year? Could a new jersey mean New Jersey? Only the most enlightened minds can decipher the augury.
A search of retired numbers reveals there is not a team in the league that will have max cap space that has the No. 6 hanging from the rafters. Sure, James cannot play for Boston (Russell), Philadelphia (Erving), Phoenix (
Where does the honoring stop? It's certainly not at the cash register. Is it any coincidence that the two players who sell more jerseys than anyone in the NBA -- Bryant and James -- have switched numbers, setting off an entirely new frenzy of sales?
A visit to the NBA Store's Web site reveals that an authentic James jersey sells for $169.99. If, say, 100,000 LeBron fanatics worldwide absolutely have to have both his Nos. 23 and 6 jerseys, the league reaps an additional $17 million, not including sales tax. A couple of "swingman" jerseys at $49.99 a pop and replica jerseys at $44.99 apiece, and the NBA is looking at an even bigger windfall. Oh, and let's not forget about personalized jerseys.
Add it all up and James' simple decision to "honor" Jordan becomes a massive money-maker. And this is all before considering the financial impact if he switches teams this summer. Imagine how well his new jersey will sell in the Big Apple should he join the Knicks.
All kidding aside, it's great if James wants to honor his hero. Today's young players get criticized enough for not respecting those who came before them. But do it the right way, for the right seasons. In this case, the numbers don't seem to add up.