As you may already know, LeBron James has ditched Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey for Michael Jordan’s No. 23. Jordan seems to have no problem with it and even stated that he doesn’t own a number. Now true LeBron loyalists won’t have to go out and buy a brand new Cleveland Cavaliers jersey because James’ latest numerical decision was made in part to make it look like he never left in the first place — or at least not in “spirit”.
Think about it for a moment. From here on out, any time you watch highlight clips on YouTube of King James flying through the air over NBA defenders while he brings down the “Akron Hammer”, he’ll be doing it in a No. 23 jersey. Unless you can see who his teammates are in the video, you won’t be able to tell what year it is in regards to pre-Miami Heat or post-Miami Heat James. That’s all part of the plan.
Whether good or bad, every move that James and his inner circle make is calculated. James, however, has proved that he always has the final word, and by returning to Cleveland and by wearing the No. 23, James is making two clear statements: I’m home and I’ve earned my worth.
Perhaps the biggest statement that James is making that we all missed is the fact that he’s become a realist. At the age of 29, chasing Russell’s 11 rings is an impossible feat, but Jordan’s six rings are definitely within striking distance. Two down, four more to tie, five more to surpass.
When James got caught up in the (“not one, not two, etc.”) hype started by Heat commentator Eric Reid at the “Big 3” pyrotechnic unveiling in 2010, he started making a lot of “promises” that were going to be unrealistic to keep. Let’s just say that he was “inebriated” under the influence of the mob mentality and the No. 6 jersey he was wearing.
Now that he’s back in Cleveland, a new, improved and clear-headed James has decided to wisely choose the No. 23. In doing so, he’s showing all of northeast Ohio that he’s back again for the first time and the Miami stint was just for the sake of higher learning.
With the No. 6 still on his mind in terms of rings and the No. 23 on his uniform, James is telling his critics that they can go ahead and compare him to Jordan because this time around, he will deliver.
Russell was impossible, but Jordan is attainable.