Often, when a superstar joins a new team, that team’s incumbent star will extend an olive branch, in one way or another, to make the new teammate feel welcome and valued. In some cases, it’s just a way of massaging egos, a gesture toward assuring them that they’ll be given the opportunity to shine.
More and more, that’s come in the form of surrendering jersey numbers to on-boarding players. That was just one of the ways LeBron James tried to make Anthony Davis feel more at home after the Lakes orchestrated a massive trade with the Pelicans earlier this summer.
Davis has worn No. 23 his entire basketball career, so LeBron had no qualms about gifting him the number and reverting back to the No. 6 uniform he wore during his Big 3 Heat days. But there’s just one problem with that. Nike, the NBA’s apparel provider and the shoe giant who boasts LeBron as its top client, had already completed its production cycle for the upcoming season and would’ve taken an enormous financial hit.
So according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Davis will postpone taking his No. 23 jersey until the 2020-2021 season.
But due to production issues and the massive financial hit Nike would have absorbed from the No. 23 James inventory that’s already been produced, Nike could not accommodate the request for this season, sources said.
Out of consideration for fans who already purchased James’ jersey and to avoid distractions for a team competing for a championship, the Lakers star will bypass seeking the number change for this season.
Davis can hit free agency next summer because he holds a player option for the 2020-21 season.
In the grand scheme, it’s a relatively minor accommodation for Davis. There’s been no official word on what number he might choose for the upcoming season, though we’ll likely gain more clarity on that during his introductory press conference this weekend.