According to various news sources, LeBron James has filed to change his jersey number from 23 to six next season. James has mentioned in the past that Michael Jordan is his favorite player of all time. Moreover, he’s expressed an opinion that the number should be retired league wide. Putting his money where his mouth is (more about this is a minute), LeBron will be hanging up 23 and putting on number six.
The number is significant to James for several reasons. October 6th is the birthday of his first-born, LBJ JR. Six is the number of rings that his idol Jordan accumulated over his career. Six is also the jersey number of Bill Russell, the greatest winner the league has ever seen. James wore six when playing for the United States Olympic Team. LeBron won gold with “The Redeem Team.” There have been six LeBron James signature shoes. And in a moment he’d rather forget (and everyone has seemed to as well), on July 6th 2009 James had tape of him being dunked on in a camp confiscated.
Beyond these significant associations, is a much more obvious motivation. Since 2005-2006, LeBron has annually ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 3rd in jersey sales. That’s a whole lot of people who will be buying the brand new number six jersey. That’s a lot of royalties in one year. Also, there might be the possibility that lots and lots of people in the tri-state area will have a reason to purchase a brand spanking new orange and blue jersey.
Of course, as Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant have come to find out, there’s one thing that increases jersey sales more than anything else: the NBA championship. We’ll see if LeBron gives his fans extra motivation through that avenue as well.