Monday, July 28, 2014

Sport for Thought: #23

When LeBron James left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 for the Miami Heat, he decided  to exchange his #23 for #6. He said the number 23 should be retired throughout the NBA to give respect to arguably the greatest basketball player that has ever stepped foot onto a basketball court.

Switching numbers may not seem like that big of a deal, but when you are LeBron James, and your every move is compared to the great Michael Jordan (including the number on your jersey), it becomes a big deal. Ever since he was the top player in the country in high school, and his games would air on ESPN, LeBron has been placed in the shadows of Jordan. Every player always wants to aspire to be the best, and it will most likely be a debate for the rest of eternity, on whether or not LeBron will ever pass Jordan as the greatest player of all-time.


So of course when he was drafted directly out of high school, he chose to wear the number previously worn by his idol and role model, Michael Jordan. The sporting world has put a heavy pressure on the shoulders of LeBron ever since he was a teenager, and I would have to say he has lived up to the greatest of expectations under the brightest and most scrutinized of spotlights. While playing in Cleveland, he gave his hometown all they could have asked for. This was a young kid just out of high school, who quickly catapulted to an elite NBA player and single handedly carried the Cavaliers to consecutive playoff appearances from 2006-2010, including an NBA Finals appearance against the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Following the 2010 season, LeBron decided to take his talents to South Beach for a legitimate chance at multiple titles with a talented supporting cast, unlike the previous five seasons in Cleveland. Although his announcement was not one of the brightest moments of his career, his decision provided him with the knowledge, character, and experience that will help the 2014-15 Cavaliers be successful. By switching from #23 to #6, in his blockbuster move to the South of Florida, LeBron somewhat left the shadows of Jordan to create a new chapter to his career. He may not have won 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 NBA Finals, but he was able to make four Finals appearances and secure two championships. This is an accomplishment for even the greatest of players but because it is LeBron, many basketball fans looked at his time in Miami as a failure due to his poor judgement in 2010.


As he now returns to Cleveland and to his old #23, LeBron has took on the challenge on completing an unfinished chapter to his somewhat storybook career. He left Cleveland with some unfinished business by not winning a championship for the city of Cleveland. Maybe LeBron was right with his statement about the #23 when he first left Cleveland, but their is really no better way for him to return home than by wearing the number of the great Michael Jordan.


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Alexa Fontanella is a freshman Sport Management Major at Drexel University, from Totowa, NJ. This winter she will be working with Drexel Athletics on marketing strategies and game day operations for the Drexel Dragons basketball team. Alexa is looking forward to participating in her first co-op next fall and is excited for such an amazing opportunity. She is a huge New York Sports fan, specifically the Yankees and the Nets. 

Follow Alexa on Twitter @Lexa_Font4 and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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