When Anthony Davis officially became Laker, Los Angeles’ newest big man publicly celebrated the moment with LeBron James in a parking lot somewhere, and they took a picture together for Instagram. James had brought Davis a Lakers jersey with the number The Brow has worn throughout his professional career: No. 23. It was gift meant to say “welcome to the team,” and symbolized James passing the torch of the number he had been wearing in recent years to a newer, younger talent. With LeBron literally handing that number off to AD, James teased a return of the No. 6 he wore during his tenure in Miami for the upcoming season.
In theory, this change was supposed to be easy as far as the logistics were concerned, but it seems like the Lakers’ inability to do almost anything right has made its way into even the most pedestrian decisions. A report from Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes revealed that the two will have to wait until next season for this switch that carried oh-so-much meaning to officially happen.
When the Lakers inquired with the league about the jersey change, they were informed the March 15 deadline had passed, sources close to the situation told Yahoo Sports. However, the league would have allowed it if the team were able to work it out with Nike, the manufacturer of the jersey, sources said.
But due to production issues and the massive financial hit Nike would have absorbed from the No. 23 James inventory that’s already been produced, Nike could not accommodate the request for this season, sources said.
Okay, fine, this isn’t entirely on the Lakers as Nike is doing a lot of the strong-arming in this situation with claims of large LeBron-related inventory. Still, given the amount of stumbling the franchise did while trying to get Davis onto the team in the first place, it’s fitting that even the small things are falling through.
As a result of this non-switch—which, according to Haynes’s report, was done “to avoid distractions for a team competing for a championship”—Davis will wear No. 3 on his jersey next season, so a number exactly one half of the one LeBron wanted.