That number looks familiar ...

That number looks familiar …
Image: Getty Images

After a tumultuous 2018-19 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James tweeted this out, passive-aggressively declaring his intentions to change his number to six.

He was disallowed from doing so initially because he missed a deadline, Darren Rovell of the Action Network notes in a report:

“James had originally planned to give up No. 23 for the 2019-20 season, but missed the March deadline to declare a jersey change. Nike was given the chance to allow the NBA to approve the change anyway and denied it because of the glut of jerseys still on the market.

James quietly filed again without fanfare, made the deadline, and therefore allowed Nike to prepare, sources said.”

Throughout sports history, you’ll find a ton of athletes who were great while wearing multiple jersey numbers, but the class becomes tremendously downsized when applying the “same team” qualifier. And while rookies coming in with high uniform numbers before getting their permanent ones is a long list, the number of athletes who were great while wearing various numbers for the same team is scarcer. Here are a few of the best examples we’ve uncovered, and perhaps James will find himself there pretty shortly (like he isn’t already before even playing a game in his purple-and-gold No. 6!).