Years Before Calling Himself the GOAT, LeBron James Wanted to Honor Michael Jordan, Pushing NBA to Take a Huge Step

Talk about 23, and the entire NBA world will take a trip down memory lane. Michael Jordan’s reputation is so prominent that even individuals who do not follow basketball are aware of his status. The sporting world’s legends see him as an idol, and everyone has their own way of paying tribute His airness. Before achieving his legendary status, Lakers star LeBron James took the initiative to pay honor to his idol as well. Back in 2009, LeBron James was the rising star of the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 14 games, LeBron averaged 9.1 rebounds, 35.3 points, and 7.3 assists, making him one of the best in the franchise. King James wore the number 23 throughout his reign with the Cavaliers. The same number was worn by the Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.

After being traded to the Miami Heat in 2010, LeBron made the decision to switch to a new jersey number. He modified the number from 23 to 6. However, throughout his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was seen wearing both the 6 and the 23 jersey numbers. This is to pay tribute to his idol. LeBron believes that since his triumph with the Cavaliers in 2016, he can be considered the GOAT himself.

Any sports organization’s greatest honor to a player is to retire his jersey number. Years before calling himself the GOAT, LeBron took the initiative and wanted to retire number 23 for Michael Jordan. When LeBron first decided to change his jersey number in 2009, he also encouraged the other players who wore the number 23 to follow this example. He said, “I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I’m starting a petition, and I’ve got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. Now, if I’m not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it.”

LeBron went on to acknowledge Jordan’s contribution to the game. He said, “I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon.” and further added, “There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if He wasn’t there first.” This is not only because MJ is LBJ’s idol, but because MJ influenced the game like no one else. And LeBron believes that retiring the number 23 would be a great honor to Michael Jordan. This was not the first time LeBron paid tribute to the legend. He never misses an opportunity to pay honor to his idol.

The Chicago Bulls and The Miami Heat have retired the 23-number jersey. Jordan is one of 14 individuals whose numbers have been retired by two separate teams. 

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