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LeBron Wants to Change Jersey to Honor MJ

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Mar 8, 2010 3:00PM

AP Photo
Are we reading too much into LeBron James' filing of paperwork with the NBA league offices this week? Following through with his previously announced intentions, King James submitted an application to change his jersey number from 23 to 6, wanting the league to honor Michael Jordan by retiring the number league-wide in much the same was that Major League Baseball did for Jackie Robinson. While we don't believe you can really compare Jordan's on-court accomplishments to what Robinson did - breaking his sport's color barrier - we do wonder what LeBron's comments mean in terms of his future.

Far and away the most highly sought free agent at the end of the season, a number of teams have cleared copious amounts of cap room in hopes of luring James to their team--the Bulls included. Technically, the paperwork filed to change his number is only required should he remain with the Cavaliers, so does he intend to remain in Cleveland? Many expect that if he does't stay with Cleveland, the bright lights of New York City and the Knick would be his destination. But might Chicago also be a possibility? Was LeBron tipping his hand about his desire to play for the Bulls by voluntarily giving up MJ's number? Even The New York Daily News recently mentioned the Bulls as a darkhorse in the LeBron sweepstakes, but we'd like to think that it's an even greater possibility given Chicago's combination of good, young roster, big media market and popular franchise with legacy of winning. The Bulls are much closer to securing LeBron a ring than the Knicks are, and Chicago's not exactly some mass media backwater -- afterall MJ only became the most famous person in the world while playing in town. [Ed's Note: Despite their lackluster season in 2009-2010, it's also worth noting the Bulls' roster overall is still better than the Knicks. Can you imagine if LeBron convinces Bosh to follow him here, thus putting the two of them on the court with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah? Damn.]

And what if King James wasn't signaling his desire to come to Chicago? Then perhaps Dwyane Wade was when buying a new home in Chicago last summer.