Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was a seven-hit wonder, but Ron Artest’s tribute to the pop star turned out to be a one-year wonder.
Ron Artest will be switching to No. 15 next season, the number he wore at St. John’s in college and his first three seasons in the NBA, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. Artest actually put in the request late last season.
When he came to the Lakers, Artest said he chose No. 37 as a tribute to the late pop star Jackson, whose “Thriller” was atop the Billboard charts for 37 weeks and spawned seven top-10 singles.
Artest has worn six numbers in his NBA career (15, 23, 91, 93, 96 and 37).
This move is actually a little Kobe-like — Bryant switched from 8 to 24 as part of an image makeover, but he also wore 24 in high school. This is a move back to a number from Artest’s roots. How long that lasts is anybody’s guess.