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Michael Jordan approves of LeBron James wearing No. 23 once again

Jul 28, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT

When LeBron James changed his jersey number from 23 to 6 upon joining the Miami Heat four years ago, he said (at the urging of Pat Riley) that he did so to honor Michael Jordan, and that if he was no longer going to wear 23, no one should.

Obviously, things have changed.

James has chosen to return to wearing 23 in his second stint with the Cavaliers, but Jordan himself has no hard feelings toward James for going back on his word.

From Chris Broussard of

“I’m cool with it,” Jordan told via text message Monday morning. “I don’t own a number.” …

“I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon,” James, who had worn No, 23 since his sophomore year in high school, said at the time. “There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if there wasn’t Michael Jordan first.

“He can’t get the logo, and if he can’t, something has to be done. 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.”

This easily could have turned into one of those fake controversies that I’m not going to link to, but that can occasionally become all-encompassing in today’s sports news cycle.

Thankfully, Jordan himself doesn’t care — so now we don’t have to pretend to, either.

  1. chicagosports2014 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Lebron is very contradicting.

    • 4thquartermagic - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      “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.”

      Yeah had to read this twice. LeBron wearing 23 then declaring if anyone gets to wear 23 it should be me, but no one should be allowed to wear 23.


  2. titansbro - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    So I guess it’s ok for the rest of the league to go back to wearing #23 again?

    Hey ya’ll, Bron said it’s cool for us to wear #23 again.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      Lebron was in the womb and couldn’t decide if he wanted to be a boy or girl.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Wrong. He was trying to decide between being a King, or being a God. Fortunately for you he decided to be a benevolent King, because LeBron James would be an angry God and a jealous God. You wouldn’t want that – storms of locusts, rivers running red with blood, plagues of frogs and so forth – nasty business…

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        so THAT’S why delonte west decided to swim in those waters.

  3. loungefly74 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    How about the Bulls retiring MJ’s number since he played for the Bulls (oh..they already did!). I am not cool with a league-wide retirement of the number…no way. when else has that happened in sports? Jackie Robinson? well…the guy broke a barrier in the highest plateaus of human rights…far different(and way more important) from winning 6 titles and being the GOAT. MJ was great but why should a team like the Kings or Lakers retire the number? Also…there would have been a Kobe, Lebron, and Wade, etc…regardless of MJ or not. No…Lebron was being nice since Riley wanted it to happen but James owns “23” in Cleveland.

    • gostlcards5 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Well said…totally agree.

    • titansbro - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      I generally don’t like retiring numbers even on a team level. I mean, teams like the Lakers & Celtics almost have no numbers left to give out.

      If anything, have a period of time after a player retires that no one can wear it, like 10 years.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        There are over 100 possible numbers to wear and the Lakers have only retired 9 (will be 10 after Kobe retires). There are plenty of numbers.

  4. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    He never ceases to amaze me and show how incredibly stupid he is

  5. antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    MJ has to be cool with it. He really has no choice.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Why does HE have no choice?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        because it wouldn’t make a difference if he wasn’t okay with it. bron’s 23 will be all up in his grill whether he likes it or not.

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        So he does have a choice to like it or not.
        U make no sense.
        Ur reason does not hinge on his like or dislike.

  6. tv63 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    The world at large could give a rat’s a$$ what number Lebron wears. What is this? A slow news day. Yawn.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Lebron will never be as good as mj so the closet thing he can do is jock the man’s number.

  7. chitownmatt - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    “…because 2 x 3 = 6”

    Is that really the best he could do?

    He totally forgot to mention that:
    23 is the sum of three other, consecutive, prime numbers; 5, 7 and 11. It is the lowest prime number showing this characteristic.

    Also, 23 is only one of two integers that cannot be expressed as the sum of fewer than 9 cubes of integers, the other is 239.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      Lebron’s advisors helped him with the math.
      Just like they did with the letter.
      Lebron is not a smart man. Watch lebron give his speech a couple yrs ago at the espys. He’s sounds so dumb and uneducated u can see his eyes reading. Same thing in 2k14. U can see he’s too dumb to memorize a few lines so u see his eyes moving reading. Im surprised he can read actually.

      • program33 - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        And he still has more money than you with your degree.

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        Yes. Because that statement really disproves the fact he’s still dumb.

  8. cantonbound13 - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    23 is for his 2-3 Finals record.

    • spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      cb13, ftw.

  9. spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    That whole ” no one should wear 23″ is a Pat Riley meme. I see that LeBron lost his Riley Religion somewhere on the outskirts of Miami on his way to Cleveland.

  10. philliesblow - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    LeBron should have picked 45 as his new number.

  11. seasickcecil - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    LJ chose 23 over 6 because Miami was his side chick. Cleveland is his wife.

    • tomtravis76 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      He left because he wasn’t getting any at home, it never changes he still won’t get any at home when he returns…Cleveland= dead bedroom.

  12. osubrndn - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    maybe i’d have too much of an ego, but knowing how great he already is, i’d want to pick a unique number and see kids grow up picking my number as their number…being 23 you make your number be generic.

  13. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Anyone ever notice how players rarely wear anything over #55 and in fact they don’t wear anything with a single digit over 5? Like 29 isn’t a number anybody wears and 38 isn’t a number anybody wears. I’ve always wondered about this. (And I know there’s exceptions.)

    Somebody told me it has to do with how in high school players can’t wear anything over the number 5 because of referee hand signals. And you know how players like to carry over their number from HS to college to pro.

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