LeBron James will return to No. 23 next season after switching from No. 6

James reportedly made the switch out of respect for Bill Russell, whose No. 6 was retired by the league.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James shoots against the Denver Nuggets in the first half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference Finals.
LeBron James won't be wearing No. 6 anymore. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James is not only coming back for a 21st season, he’s coming back in his original uniform number.

James will return to No. 23 next season, a move the Los Angeles Lakers revealed Saturday by tweeting a picture of his back with James’ name and number showing on the gold jersey.

James has alternated between No. 23 and No. 6 after wearing 23 when he entered the NBA in 2003 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was in No. 6 while becoming the NBA’s career scoring leader last season, a number now retired by the league following the death of Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell.


Rich Paul, James’ agent, told ESPN that James decided to make the switch out of respect for Russell.

James said Wednesday during the broadcast of the ESPY Awards that he would continue playing next season.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on