Most iconic NBA numbers: #23 – Michael Jordan and LeBron James

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

Because of the achievements of the players who wore them, certain NBA jersey numbers have grown to be synonymous with championship wins, MVP victories and spectacular scoring feats.

With the 2019-20 NBA season on hold for the near future, it can be an opportune point in time to explore an array of the NBA’s most iconic numbers.

Inside the first feature inside our series, we check out two of basketball’s greatest players, both of whom used No 23.

Michael Jordan hasn’t taken a shot in anger since 2003 yet this is a testament to his legacy that his Chicago Bulls 23 jersey remains an utterly iconic NBA item.

That’s because of the indelible mark Jordan left on what he always lovingly referred to as “the overall game of basketball” – thanks to his six NBA championships, five league MVPs, six Finals MVPs, 14 All-Star options, 11 All-NBA options and 10 credit scoring titles.

It’s more than likely we’ll never again start to see the relentless, intense, dominant make of being successful that characterised Jordan’s NBA job. He led his team to victory in every NBA Finals where he played (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) and was known as Finals MVP every time. Even though riddled with flu (from the Utah Jazz in game five of the 1997 NBA Finals), Jordan simply refused to lose and taken the Bulls to victory.

Jordan led the league in credit scoring 10 times, including a season averaging 37.6 factors per game (1987), a feat unmatched by anyone not named Wilt Chamberlain in NBA history (although James Harden ran him close with 36.1 PPG in 2018-19). He adapted his game as he got more mature, transforming from an uber-athletic, uber-aggressive dunker to a deadly scorer from mid-range, specifically along with his trademark turnaround jump shot.

Off the court, the serial winner would depend on bizarre methods to motivate himself, feeding the marketing stories about opposition players who styled themselves as “Jordan stoppers”. He would then browse the shared articles to fire himself up before video games.

The Bulls retired Jordan’s 23 jersey on November 1, 1994, 1 . 5 years after Jordan stepped from basketball to pursue a profession in baseball. When he made his comeback – announced via a two-word fax delivered to the advertising simply reading ‘I’m again’ – in March 1995, Jordan primarily wore No 45 as a result.

Jordan was back his No 23 at the start of the 1995-96 season and led the Bulls to a then-NBA-best 72-10 record, kicking off Chicago’s second title ‘three-peat’.

When Jordan’s tenure as a Bull officially came to an in depth in January 1999 amid a season lockout as the team that dominated the 1990s broke up with the players and coach Phil Jackson in open conflict with leading office, quantity 23 returned to retirement in Chicago.

But that wasn’t the previous time Jordan’s 23 would be retired by a team…


Keep in mind when LeBron James took his “talents to South Beach”, moving from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami High temperature this year 2010 free organization? Bear in mind how he switched his trademark No 23 to No 6?

That’s because, in April 2003, heat retired No 23 in honour of JORDAN – who got just wrapped up his second comeback as an associate of the Washington Wizards – to acknowledge his job achievements and contributions to basketball. Even though he never played one minute for them!

James won the first two of his three NBA championships using No 6 in Miami but was back in 23 as he delivered what he previously always promised – and what meant the most to him – an NBA name with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

James has three Finals MVP awards to his name from those tournament wins but, unlike Jordan, in addition has experienced beat on the league’s greatest level, once during his first tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2007), twice with the Miami Heating (2011, 2014) and 3 x in his second stint with the Cavs (2015, 2017, 2018).

Only a small number of players – like the legendary Bill Russell with 10 – from the dominant Boston Celtics team of the 1960s can better James’ nine Finals appearances. However the league experienced just 10 teams in those days. There are 30.

LeBron’s consistent potential to attain the NBA’s top table, whatever the result, illustrates his greatness.

James’ best credit scoring season (30.0 tips per game in 2007/08) earned him his sole credit scoring name, but he hasn’t been simply an out-and-out scorer. A cerebral passer, James instantly calculates the best play in confirmed situation and makes it, whether that is clearly a crunch-time shot or giving up the ball for an open team-mate.

Now playing along with Anthony Davis, James has evolved once again, playing point guard for the Western Conference-leading Lakers and leading the NBA in assists per game (10.6).

Even as James transferred Jordan’s record for all-time postseason things in 2017, he insisted: “I don’t desire to be labelled a scorer, I’m a playmaker.”

Given Jordan’s superior scoring prowess, it could seem to be strange that James has surpassed many of Jordan’s scoring landmarks. That speaks to James’ steadiness and endurance. Nobody, not Jordan, can match the suffered superiority James has offered over his 17 months to date.

It really is feasible James plays at an All-Star level for two full decades. If he remains a 20-plus-point per game scorer, he will pass Kareem-Abdul Jabbar near the top of the all-time credit scoring list and close his job with an all-but-unmatchable legacy.

The Cavaliers retiring James’ 23 jersey is all-but-guaranteed and you’d expect heat to retire his No 6 jersey too. Should he deliver a subject in LA, it might be no real surprise to start to see the Lakers increase 23 to their rafters in Staples Centre.

Wilt Chamberlain is the only real NBA player to have his jersey amount retired by 3 different teams. When King James finally surrenders his throne, he is possibly the second person in that exclusive team.