“He Hadn’t Been There Long Enough”: 3x NBA Champion’s Honest Take on Prospect of LeBron James Statue Amid Jersey Number Swap

Published 07/17/2023, 7:30 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

LeBron James has worn jersey numbers 23 and 6 throughout his basketball career. For most fans, the #23 was synonymous with Michael Jordan, and #6 with Bill Russell. But this was before the King entered the league. After initially donning #23, he switched to #6 in Miami. But last year, the NBA retired #6 across the league after the Boston Celtics legend passed away. However, the league allowed players who were wearing the number to continue. So, LeBron continued wearing it. However, it was recently reported that he will go back to #23 in honor of Russell. Amidst this, a Los Angeles Lakers legend has given his honest opinion about James getting his own statue.

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James became the All-Time leading scorer last season when he broke Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s previous record. James is no doubt one of the best players ever, but is he one of the best Los Angeles Lakers?

Will LeBron James get a statue outside the Lakers’ arena?

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Given LeBron James’ exploits in the league, there is a high chance that he will receive a statue of his own once he retires. However, his career has been spread out playing for three different teams. James has won four titles so far: two with the Miami Heat, one with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his latest ring with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He played 11 long years for the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the other hand, he was with the Heat for just four years and is now in his fifth so far with the Lakers. This raises the question of where would LeBron get a statue. Recently, 3x NBA champion James Worthy was asked about whether LeBron James would get a statue outside the Lakers arena and he gave his honest opinion.

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Worthy said, “Depends on what he does here out. Personally, I think he would agree, he hadn’t been there long enough,” admitted Worthy.

The 1988 Finals MVP continued, “He’s won a championship. But I think his overall greatness, when you have a player like LeBron, who breaks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record in Los Angeles, does it as a Laker, then wins a championship as a Laker, you can’t argue that he couldn’t get a statue in Los Angeles.

The Lakers retired James Worthy’s no. 42 in 1995, making him only the sixth player to receive such an honor at the time.

Furthermore, he added that the 4x NBA MVP could get one in Cleveland as well for leading the team to its first-ever title. However, he was not sure about a statue in Miami even though James won two rings there.

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The status of Lakers legends’ statues

The Lakers have immortalized five legends so far with statues.

The list includes Magic Johnson, Chick Hearn, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal. There is a possibility of a Kobe Bryant statue next. After all, Mamba spent his whole career wearing Purple & Gold, winning five NBA titles for the franchise.

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It will be interesting to see if LeBron James would be next in line to get a statue of his own from the Lakers. What do you think?

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Written by:

Bagavathi Eswaran

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Bagavathi Eswaran is a senior NBA writer at EssentiallySports, with a strong passion for the sport that started at the young age of ten. As a former college player, Bagavathi has been following the NBA for more than a decade and has found his calling in writing about the sport. His expertise in covering the NBA, as well as other arenas of the sport, is evident in his writing.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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