LeBron James was ready to gift Anthony Davis his jersey number until Nike stepped in and said not so fast.
James has worn jersey No. 23 in all his NBA seasons but his four-year stint with the Miami Heat, when he wore No. 6. No. 23 is what Anthony Davis has worn throughout his career. To welcome his new teammate to the Los Angeles Lakers, James was going to give Davis No. 23 and likely switch back to No. 6.
However, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported on Friday that the jersey switch will not be happening. Haynes reported that the request came in after the March 15 deadline. The league would have allowed the switch if manufacturer Nike approved it, but they did not, citing a major financial loss they would have incurred.
According to ESPN, Nike stood to lose “well into the tens of millions of dollars” on the switch due to already-produced LeBron James No. 23 Lakers jerseys.
A player has the ability to buy out the jerseys as we’ve seen one do in the past, but James opted to keep his number out of respect to the fans who have already purchased his Lakers jersey and to avoid further controversy, Haynes reported.
Saturday afternoon, the Lakers officially announced Davis’ new number by sharing a post via the team’s Twitter account of the No. 3 uniform being made.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 13, 2019
Nike rarely flexes their muscle, but they have a point in terms of a lot of jerseys already made.