LeBron James will wear a new jersey number for the 2021-22 NBA season. According to Shams Charania and Tim Cato of The Athletic, James will wear No. 6 instead of No. 23 next year. They also reported that James' teammate, Anthony Davis, will keep his No. 3 jersey.
The change will likely come after the release of James' new movie Space Jam: A New Legacy. The film will hit theatres and HBO Max on July 16. James wore No. 6 when he was a member of the Miami Heat. He went back to No. 23 when he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. James won two NBA titles while he was with the heat and won another title in Cleveland. He has worn No. 23 in his three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and helped the team win the championship last year.
First look: LeBron James will change his Lakers jersey number to No. 6 next season after donning the number in his new movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” pic.twitter.com/VZksn1qVCy— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 9, 2021
During his time with the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis wore No. 23. He also wore the number in his only season with the Kentucky Wildcats, but when he signed with the Lakers in 2019, he chose to wear No. 3 since James had No. 23. The reason for the move hasn't been determined, but it was reported last year that James promised to swap the No. 23 jersey with Davis. However, Nike already made too many James No. 23 jerseys, and the Lakers missed the jersey swap deadline. Additionally, James wears the No. 6 Toon Squad jersey in Space Jam: A New Legacy, indicating this was something he had planned for a while.
But the biggest thing for James this offseason is getting back on track. After an injury-riddled regular season, the Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. When James spoke to reporters last week, he revealed what was the biggest issues for the team this year.
"The one thing that bothers me more than anything is we never really got an opportunity to see our full team at full strength," said James, who missed 26 games due to an ankle injury per ESPN. "Either because of injury or COVID or something going on with our ballclub this year, we could never fully get into a rhythm. And never really kind of see the full potential of what we could be capable of."