A few weeks ago, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was planning to give new teammate Anthony Davis a warm welcome to the team in the form of his No. 23 jersey. Davis has worn No. 23 every season he’s been in the NBA, and James was going to change back to No. 6 — the number he’s worn in international play, in practice and while with the Miami Heat — so that his new teammate could stick with his number of choice.
Then... Well, things hit a snag. Nike reportedly has stepped in, saying that it would take too much of a financial loss on No. 23 James jerseys its already produced if James changed for this season, so Davis won’t be able to take that number until the 2020-21 season (at the earliest).
So much for Davis’ welcome photo:
So with the only NBA number he’s ever known not an option for this season, it would seem Davis is going old school, returning to a number he said on Instagram — and in a recent interview — that he hasn’t worn since elementary school:
If No. 3 on a big guy looks a little strange to you, well, you aren’t the only one:
A dominant big man with a single digit number?!? pic.twitter.com/RpIwNWXF3r— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) July 13, 2019
The only other problem? Jared Dudley had already committed to wearing No. 3 next season, a situation he poked fun at on Twitter:
Just talked to Nike! Heard about the Problem! I’ll just take 6 so fans don’t asked for their money back! https://t.co/TgFGc90iql— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) July 13, 2019
But in all seriousness, it makes sense that — given that Davis was a guard until a growth spurt late in his high school career — Davis would have an affinity for a number that traditionally belongs to guards. What will be interesting to see is if he sticks with it next season, or if he and James will finally complete their originally proposed number switch then. A lot will probably depend on how this year goes, because if Davis has a bunch of iconic moments as Lakers No. 3, he may just not want to fix something that isn’t broken.