NBA: LeBron changing jersey to No. 6 next season

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jun 10 2021 08:50 AM

LeBron James reacts as he walks off the court in the closing seconds of the game against Phoenix in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 23, 2021. Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports/Reuters

LeBron James will return to wearing No. 6 next season, ending 7 seasons wearing No. 23, The Athletic reported Wednesday.

James wore No. 6 during his four-year tenure in Miami. James dons No. 6 in the latest "Space Jam" movie to be released next month, per the report.

James, a four-time MVP, started his career wearing No. 23 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and returned to No. 23 in his second stint with the Cavs. James continued wearing No. 23 in his first three seasons in Los Angeles.

The last big-name Lakers player to switch jersey numbers was Kobe Bryant who first wore No. 8 before transitioning to No. 24.

James remains a "championship pillar" of the Lakers and they will pour all they can into making sure he and Anthony Davis are at full strength next season, general manager Rob Pelinka said Friday.

The Phoenix Suns ended the Lakers' NBA title defense in emphatic style on Thursday, leading wire-to-wire in a 113-100 victory to win their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series in six games.

It marked the first time in 15 playoff appearances that James — a four-time NBA champion — was eliminated in the first round.

Inevitably the series defeat, on the heels of a regular season in which James and Davis both battled injury and the Lakers had to play their way into the post-season proper as the seventh seed, sparked speculation as to how much longer the 36-year-old James will be the man to carry a franchise and whether he can still hope to match legendary Michael Jordan's six titles.

Pelinka, however, insisted that James and Davis together — if they're healthy — can return the Lakers to the summit. — With a report from Agence France-Presse

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