When Josh Hart announced that he would wear No. 3 this season this season instead of the No. 5 he wore for his rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers, the news was sort of a shock, if only because players generally don’t switch numbers after just one year in the NBA.
But when listening to Hart explain why he made the switch during and appearance on Spectrum Sportsnet LA before throwing out the first pitch for the Dodgers on “Lakers Night,” his reasoning made the choice make a lot more sense.
”No. 3 was my number since I was a kid. I came in and Corey Brewer, Brewski had No. 3 so I was kinda bummed I couldn’t get it, and then he left and I was like ‘I can’t try to switch numbers mid-season, so I’m just gonna kind of let it rock out. But then IT (Isaiah Thomas) got it, and I was a little nervous with what he was doing in free agency. But when I saw he was going to Denver I was like ‘I gotta get it.’”
Hart obviously didn’t say he was hoping Thomas would leave or anything, but picturing him glued to his phone waiting for Woj to tweet an update on Thomas’ free agency just like the rest of us — just because he wanted his childhood jersey number back — is a hilarious visual.
Hart also said it wasn’t an easy decision to change back from No. 5, which he had developed a fondness for after it was initially foisted upon him.
”It’s a solid number. I really grew to love five and then I had this jersey that was No. 3 and I was like ‘oh wow that looks a little different now.’ I forgot what I looked like wearing a No. 3 jersey. And people called me ‘Cinco,’ my agent started that, and I was like ‘I kinda like that, it’s got a nice ring to it.’”
I googled “Josh Hart Cinco” and the only relevant result that came up was this tweet, so that was definitely more of a private/inner circle-type nickname:
The only nickname actually listed on Josh Hart’s Basketball-Reference page is “Josh Barkley,” a nickname Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson gave him after he was rebounding like a madman — or, I guess, like Charles Barkley — upon getting his first significant playing time of the season.
Barkley wore four numbers throughout his career, and while Hart doesn’t necessarily want to go that far, he did joke that he might switch back-and-forth like another Hall of Famer Lakers fans might be familiar with:
”I can do like a Kobe Bryant thing, like go three and five.”
It seems safe to say Hart won’t get both retired, and now that he’s switched back to three, it’s probably safe to go out and get a jersey and not worry about him switching again. But a Hart No. 5, for everyone that has one, will be a great NBA hipster jersey for summer league or Coachella in a few years.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.