LeBron James changing jersey from No. 23 to No. 6

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will change his jersey number from No. 23 to No. 6 next season following the release of “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which features James in a No. 6 “Tune Squad” jersey.

James posted promotional material this week for the upcoming movie, wearing a No. 6 “Tune Squad” uniform.

James first wore No. 6 on his practice jersey and in competitive games when he played for Team USA in three different Olympics. He changed his number in the NBA after joining the Miami Heat in 2010, who retired No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan.

The four-time NBA MVP returned to No. 23 in 2014 after leaving Miami in free agency and reunited with the Cavaliers. James kept the number when he joined the Lakers in 2018 and planned to return to No. 6 in the summer of 2019 after the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis, who was No. 23 his entire career with the New Orleans Pelicans. Nike delayed the changes due to the number of jerseys with James as No. 23 and the millions of dollars worth of wasted inventory.

James averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists in 45 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season. He missed 26 games during the regular season due to a high ankle sprain that also limited him throughout the postseason. He believes an opportunity to rest and recover from the injury during the offseason will work wonders for his health and mindset.

“Well it’s gonna work wonders for me, obviously,” James said. “Obviously during the season I don’t talk about rest. I don’t even like to put my mind and frame into that; it makes me weak. But in the offseason, I get an opportunity to rest. I got like three months to recalibrate, get my ankle back to 100% where it was before the Atlanta game."

For the first time in his career, the 36-year-old was eliminated from the NBA playoffs after the Phoenix Suns 113-100 Game 6 victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

“The one thing that bothers me more than anything is we never really got an opportunity to see our full team at full strength,” James said after the game. “Either because of injury or COVID or something going on with our ballclub this year, we could never fully get into a rhythm and never really see the full potential of what we could be capable of.”