NBA superstar LeBron James shook up the NBA landscape late Sunday night by announcing he’ll be taking his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The decision was essentially narrowed down to only the Lakers in recent days but that didn’t stop teams like the Cavaliers and the Sixers from trying to do their best to persuade LeBron to stay home or come to them respectively.
As hype around the Lakers is the highest it has been it several years, many fans are left wondering what number LeBron James will don once he shows up in the famed purple and gold.
LeBron James has worn two numbers over the course of his NBA career and those are number 6 and number 23. James came into the NBA wearing number 23 but decided to switch to number 6, his Olympic number, once he joined the Miami Heat before switching back to 23 for his return to the Cavaliers.
Neither the Heat or the Cavaliers have the storied history the Lakers have so new players have to make sure they don’t end up choosing a retired number.
Here’s the list of numbers the Lakers have retired:
- Kobe Bryant: 8 and 24
- Wilt Chamberlain: 13
- Elgin Baylor: 22
- Gail Goodrich: 25
- Magic Johnson: 32
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 33
- Shaquille O’Neal: 34
- James Worthy: 42
- Jerry West: 44
- Jamaal Wilkes: 52
Lucky for James, neither 6 or 23 are retired numbers so he’ll be able to choose either of those numbers or a brand new one.
James will most likely continue using number 23 as that’s his most recent number and most of the edited photos showing LeBron on the Lakers as number 23.
Fans will likely have to wait until the official unveiling of LeBron holding up his jersey so nothing is set in stone as of yet.
LeBron James agreed to a four-year, 153.3 million dollar deal with the Lakers, making this the first contract in a while for LeBron that guaranteed a longtime commitment with his team. With the Cavaliers, James traditionally signed two-year deals with the option to opt out in the second one.
It is the longest deal James has signed since signing a six-year contract with the Miami Heat in 2010, which leaves the door open for him retiring a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
James thanked Ohio in an Instagram story shortly after the announcement broke. He wrote over a photo from the 2016 NBA title victory parade in Cleveland, “Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will always be home.”
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert released a statement regarding James’ departure.
“LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal,” Gilbert said in the statement. “Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line…”
Gilbert famously put out a statement, using Comic Sans font, condemning James when he left Cleveland for the first time. Fans didn’t take it that well either as many took to social media showing how they burned his jersey.