LeBron James has recently announced that he intends to give up wearing his number 23 in honor of Michael Jordan and has now begun a campaign to have Jordan’s number retired throughout the league. Jordan’s former coach Stu Jackson has now jumped on the bandwagon and thinks it is a good idea.
Although Michael Jordan could arguably be called the game’s greatest player, this is a direct slap in the face to other legendary NBA figures, all of whom influenced the game and were arguably the greatest players of their time.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird arrived in the league in 1980 and arguably had a greater influence in changing the fortunes of the league then Michael Jordan. What about Boston legend Bill Russell or Oscar Robertson, or Wilt Chamberlin, or Elgin Baylor, or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, or Julius Erving? Why not retire their numbers while you’re at it?
The NHL did take 99 out of circulation in honor of Wayne Gretzky and that was also ridiculous. It was a slap in the face to Gordie Howe who many hockey experts, including Scotty Bowman call the greatest NHL player ever.
Baseball did retire number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson who broke baseball’s color barrier. That one I can understand a little bit more. But should MLB also retire Babe Ruth’s number 3 since he revolutionized the game with his home runs and arguably saved the game after the Black Sox scandal?
I called the NBA office in New York on Friday and learned that it is up to the individual teams to retire player numbers. Even James technically has to get permission from the league to change his number.
I would like to see the NBA and the individual teams stand up and say that this is inappropriate and also Michael Jordan to be a man and say thanks but no thanks.
Hey Michael, since you are such a ramblin’, gamblin’ man, can you give me the odds on that?