Lakers’ New All-Star Target Once Wore Michael Jordan’s Iconic Number, But Snubbed Him for LeBron James

Published 06/19/2022, 5:30 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, left, shares a laugh with NBA legend MIchael Jordan during the NBA All-Star game in Cleveland, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The #23 is a sacred number in basketball. Ever since Michael Jordan adored the number for his playing career, the number 23 jersey is Michael’s jersey. Michael’s global fandom resulted in the number becoming famous all over the world. LeBron James then made a point of wearing 23 as his jersey number in the league as a tribute to Michael. But for a certain section of NBA Fans and players, 23 is a number associated with LeBron and not Jordan.

And it looks like Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal is one of them. According to this resurfaced article, Bradley Beal used to wear No. 23 at Florida, for his high school team in St. Louis, Chaminade, and his AAU team, the St. Louis Eagles. But he changed his jersey number when he was drafted by the Washington Wizards. When asked what prompted this, he had a surprising answer.

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Beal changed his jersey number because of LeBron James and not MJ. Beal said “I never watched Michael Jordan growing up,” He continued “I grew up, ‘23’ was LeBron. I always knew about Michael Jordan, but I can’t necessarily model myself after him. I always admired LeBron and the way he played all the time when he was in Cleveland.” This really gives you a perspective on how new generations of fans usually tend to forget the previous generations of basketball.

An offseason of change for the Lakers

Last season was a monumental failure for the Lakers. They were one of the pre-season favorites to win the NBA title or at least reach the Finals. The Lakers’ front office traded for Russell Westbrook in a big swing to assemble a “Big Three” in LA. They filled the roster with veterans and hoped to count on their experience.

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Apr 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates after a 3-point-basket in the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

But their season fell apart quickly. Due to many injuries, the team never got any rhythm. And eventually one of the preseason favorites couldn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament.

Coach Frank Vogel was fired after the season and thus began the offseason of change. New coach Darvin Ham joined recently along with a new staff that he is currently forming. Players will be cut. There have been talks of a Westbrook trade. Also, there have been talks of a superstar free agent signing too. This will be a fascinating offseason in recent history for the Lakers.

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Do you think the Lakers can be contenders next season? Let us know in the comments.

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Nirjhar Sharma

176 articles

Nirjhar Sharma is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a sports enthusiast who follows all major sports and has been watching the NBA for the past 7 years now. A firm believer in the 'Greek Freak' being the best player in the league right now, he believes that the Bucks are primed for another championship run unless the injury bug bites them.

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