LeBron James to wear jersey No. 23 in return to Cavaliers

Sunday July 27th, 2014

LeBron James will revert to his original jersey number 23 when he returns to the court for the Cavaliers this season. 

The four-time MVP announced on Sunday that he will ditch No. 6, which he wore during four seasons with the Heat, to return to the jersey number he wore as a high school standout and during his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers. 

"23 it is," James wrote on Instagram, before tweeting it out. "It's only right I go back. 2 * 3 = 6. We still family 6."

James also posted a set of photographs of himself wearing the No. 23 with the Cavaliers and at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, where he was named Ohio's Mr. Basketball on three occasions. Prior to his announcement, James had asked fans on social media whether he should wear No. 6 or No. 23.​

(LeBron James on Instagram)

The switch brings James back to the NBA's most revered jersey number, once donned by Bulls legend Michael Jordan. In 2010, James suggested that the NBA should retire the number as a tribute to Jordan because the league's logo was already taken by Hall of Famer Jerry West.

"It's time," James said four years ago, according to the Associated Press. "He's the best basketball player we've ever seen. Mike does it on the court and off the court. If you see 23, you think about Michael Jordan. You see guys flying through the air, you think about Michael Jordan. You see game-winning shots, you think about Michael Jordan. You see fly kicks, you think about Michael Jordan. He did so much, it has to be recognized, and not just by putting him in the Hall of Fame.

"He can't get the logo, and if he can't, something has to be done. I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. Nobody. If I'm not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it."

At that time, James explained that he wanted to wear jersey No. 6 — donned by NBA legends Bill Russell and Julius Erving — to honor the birthdays of his two sons. James also wore No. 6 while winning two Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball.

James' jersey has long ranked among the NBA's most popular. Back in April, the NBA announced that James' jersey was the league's top seller during the 2013-14 season. The Heat also placed No. 1 on the league's team merchandise rankings this season. ​When James left the Cavaliers following the 2009-10 season, he ranked No. 2 in jersey sales behind Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. 

Earlier this month, James decided to leave Miami after four straight Finals trips to return to Cleveland, publishing his plans in an essay with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins. 


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