When LeBron James changed his jersey number from 23 to 6 upon joining the Miami Heat four years ago, he said (at the urging of Pat Riley) that he did so to honor Michael Jordan, and that if he was no longer going to wear 23, no one should.
Obviously, things have changed.
James has chosen to return to wearing 23 in his second stint with the Cavaliers, but Jordan himself has no hard feelings toward James for going back on his word.
“I’m cool with it,” Jordan told ESPN.com via text message Monday morning. “I don’t own a number.” …
“I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon,” James, who had worn No, 23 since his sophomore year in high school, said at the time. “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, 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.”
This easily could have turned into one of those fake controversies that I’m not going to link to, but that can occasionally become all-encompassing in today’s sports news cycle.
Thankfully, Jordan himself doesn’t care — so now we don’t have to pretend to, either.