Michael Jordan doesn’t care that LeBron James has elected to wear number 23 for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and neither should you. His Airness told ESPN this morning that he’s “cool” with The King’s choice and that Jordan doesn’t “own a number.”
Michael Jordan on LeBron James changing to No. 23: "I'm cool with it, I don't own a number." pic.twitter.com/AdsqHbcrsA
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 28, 2014
LeBron’s decision to revert back to 23 after wearing 6 with the Miami Heat came under fire given comments he made several years ago about Jordan’s famed number. Speaking to ESPN in November 2009, James suggested that the NBA retire 23 in honor of MJ, going so far as to say he would start a petition to convince the league to do so.
“I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon,” said James, who has worn 23 since he was a high school sophomore. “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 [Hall of Famer Jerry West’s silhouette adorns the NBA’s 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.”
LeBron clearly went back on his word by choosing to wear No. 23 in his return to Cleveland, leading many fans to criticize his choice. But James is such an open mic when it comes to quotables and general media access that he’s bound to err on occasion – especially when the subject matter is of a light-hearted nature and his “mistake” comes nearly five years after the topic was initially broached.
LeBron could choose to mostly eschew media responsibilities like Kevin Garnett or opt for generalizations and company lines above all else a la Kevin Durant. But he’s often remarkably candid instead, and for that he deserves credit even in times when his words and actions don’t completely align.
And that Jordan couldn’t care less about James wearing number 23? That speaks louder volumes in opposition of this minor outcry than anything else.
What do you think of Jordan’s comments?
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