LeBron James made major sporting news this summer when he decided to spurn the Miami Heat to go “home” to Cleveland. And not only is he going back to his old team – King James has decided to go back to wearing his old number 23 when he hits the hard court for the Cavs.
So that got me thinking, “what’s so special about the number 23? And what other big-shot athletes have donned the numeral.”
Here are seven amazing athletes besides LeBron James to wear that number.
1. Michael Jordan
Let’s just start with the obvious. It was Chicago Bulls basketball legend Michael Jordan who made the numeral 23 NBA infamous. So how did MJ feel about James going back to good ‘ol No. 2-3? “I’m cool with it.” He told ESPN.
2. Bobby Nystrom
Hockey great Bobby Nystrom’s seminal moment came in 1980 when he scored the winning goal for the New York Islanders in overtime of the Stanley Cup finals. “Mr. Islander,” as he came to be known, helped lead the team to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Oh, and he did it without wearing a helmet. The Islanders retired his number and created an award in his honor.
3. David Beckham
Just like MJ is arguably the most famous basketball player in the world, Beckham is the most famous soccer player. Although he wore No. 7 for Manchester United back in his glory days, soccer phenom David Beckham donned the number during his days playing on Real Madrid and in the U.S. on the L.A. Galaxy.
4. Don Mattingly
“Mr. Baseball” spent his entire 14-year career playing first base for the Yankees. The six-time All-Star won nine Gold Glove awards and three Silver Sluggers. He also served as the Yankees team captain. Despite his impressive record, “Donnie Baseball” never won a World Series. The Yanks retired his number in 1997.
5. Mark Texeira
Since the Yanks retired Don Mattingly’s number in 1997, Tex had to give up the number when he came to play first base for the Yanks. But he donned those digits as a member as an All-Star for the Texas Rangers where he earned two Gold Glove awards.
6. Marcus Camby
Camby’s college career with UMass was one for the record books in more ways than one. Despite being named Player of the Year and leading his team to the Final Four –
The NCAA nullified the standings when it was revealed Camby took money from agents. He went on to play in the NBA and in 2007 was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
7. Brian Bellows
Once dubbed by Sports Illustrated “The Hottest Prospect Since Wayne Gretzky,” Brian Bellows didn’t exactly live up to those expectations, but he did have heck of a career. He retired after 18 seasons on the ice with 485 goals (55 goals in one season alone), 537 assists and 1,022 points.
Bellows won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canandiens in 1993.