Sixteen days after he decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James has finally picked his number.
At around 1 p.m. ET Sunday on his Instagram account, James announced he would go back to wearing No. 23. He also shared the link on his Twitter account.
23 it is! It's only right I go back. 2·3=6 We still family 6. #HomeTeam #StriveForGreatness http://t.co/2MpznC8JNM
– LeBron James (@KingJames) July 27, 2014
Three minutes later, Adidas spokeswoman Madeline Breskin confirmed that the company had begun setting up the machines for a production run on its 20 automated printers at its sports licensing facility in Indianapolis.
AP Images/Mark DuncanLeBron James will be returning to the No. 23 when he puts his Cavaliers jersey back on next season.
Blake Lundberg, vice president of the facility, said it will be shipping jerseys and James No. 23 T-shirts out to more than 140 accounts in the next 48 hours.
Adidas would not say how many jerseys would have to be made but confirmed that Cavaliers jerseys were initially sold out in home, away and alternate replicas. Pre-orders had begun July 11, the day James announced his return to Cleveland, and the company had to account for how many blank Cavaliers jerseys were left over since most jerseys are made in China and take at least a month by boat to arrive in the United States.
James wore the No. 23 from his rookie season in 2003-04 to the 2009-10 season, his initial stint with the Cavaliers, but he switched to his Olympic No. 6 when he went to the Miami Heat. James' number change at the time, he said, was partly to help the league honor Michael Jordan by permanently retiring his number across the league.
That never happened.
Four veteran players currently wear No. 23: Jason Richardson (Philadelphia 76ers), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) and Kevin Martin (Minnesota Timberwolves).
James has led league jersey sales for six of the 11 seasons he has played in the NBA.