Why Nike Won’t Let LeBron James Give No. 23 to Anthony Davis Until Next Year

The LA Lakers have gone through a promising offseason that has created plenty of buzz around the franchise. The Lakers’ moves were highlighted by securing the long term of both LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With all that in place, James has announced a personal gift that he has ahead for Davis.

Anthony Davis re-signs with the Lakers

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Since the Lakers won the 2020 NBA title, the notion around star forward Anthony Davis centered on returning to the franchise.

Davis elected to become a free agent in the abbreviated offseason, but his commitment to LA was never truly in question. The 27-year-old put any doubt to bed after earlier this week agreeing to a five-year, $190 million deal, which is the biggest contract in Lakers history.

The expectation around the situation was that Davis would ink a two or three-year deal to hit the 10 years of NBA service mark. That distinction would have netted him the 35% max contract worth north of $250 million over five years.

He instead chose to take the five-year deal due to his desire to have that long-term security with the franchise. Davis also acknowledged that his injury history played a pivotal part in him choosing that route.

Davis is locked in as the Lakers’ centerpiece, possibly beyond LeBron James’ tenure. He will play the prime of his career with the franchise where he can further cement his legacy as one of the game’s greatest big men talents. Along that pathway, James has a gift waiting for Davis after the 2020-21 campaign.

Nike’s reasoning for delaying the LeBron James’ No. 23 gift to Anthony Davis

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Since LeBron James and Anthony Davis teamed up with the Lakers, there has been a minor underlying story regarding their numbers.

The two star talents each played much of their respective NBA careers with No. 23. This aspect came into question once Davis joined LA. LeBron James stayed with the number while the star big man took No. 3, which he wore in high school.

James initially attempted to give Davis No. 23, but Nike delayed the plans that has extended into the upcoming campaign. Despite that, the 35-year-old voiced Saturday through social media that he will go that route after the 2020-21 campaign and wear No. 6.

The four-time NBA Finals MVP previously wore No. 6 with the United State National Basketball Team and his four-year stint with the Miami Heat. He initially changed from 23 to 6 out of respect for Michael Jordan. The choice for No. 6 is due to Julius Erving, who he has voiced is his second-favorite player of all-time.

Although James has to wait another year, he will finally get to give his personal gift to Davis next offseason.

Lakers are eyeing a second straight NBA title

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The Lakers may be coming off an NBA title, but their offseason moves demonstrated more than enough desire to push for a second straight championship.

LA lost core reserve players Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard but added several potentially pivotal players. The franchise secured offensive firepower with Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell, which should further stabilize their bench.

Meanwhile, the team brought aboard proven veterans Marc Gasol and Wesley Matthews while retaining Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris. The Lakers certainly have the talent on paper to repeat, but it will come down to their chemistry together.

There will also be other formidable challengers in the stacked Western Conference with the LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, and Portland Trail Blazers. All that sets up what should be an entertaining campaign ahead.