In another moment of sport that has nothing to do with play, this one actually doesn’t involve the police or the arrest of a famous athlete. This involves a few of the best players in the NBA recognizing the best player to have ever played in the NBA and doing it on their own initiative. LeBron James was the first to mention it recently, and its since picked up a lot of steam in the rather short period of time since its announcement.
Essentially, LeBron has suggested that the No. 23 jersey be retired from all NBA teams. There are a lot of reasons LeBron would have to want a retirement of the jersey number worn by the most famous basketball player in history.
The first is the most obvious: Jordan’s accomplishments built the NBA to what it is now and without it, the opportunity for many of the next generation’s players wouldn’t exist, or exist in a state nowhere near what it is currently.
The second: anyone wearing the No. 23 is simply living in the shadow of Michael Jordan. No matter how great the player is, after what Michael Jordan did during his career and the number of championships he acquired, no player will have remotely the same impact on the sport. Regardless of talent, Jordan was the right man, at the right time.
The third ties into the second. Playing under a different number, The King can build his own legacy. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have been heralded as the “next” Jordan, but that is an unfair comparison because they are two players in a much different era. A new number lets LeBron build his own legacy, away from the one Mike made.
LeBron realizes that not even he could overshadow Jordan’s legacy.
Rob @ November 13, 2009