Where’s the League-Wide retirement of the #23?

During the 1990s, Michael Jordan revolutionized the game of basketball. He led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in eight years, and had everybody in the country wanting to be “Like Mike”. His achievements went beyond the court, leading to many endorsements, and reaching different fan bases alike.

His number, 23, is recognized worldwide, in fact, the Miami Heat retired the #23 in his honor, and he never played a single game for them. The fact that he had such an impact on the game, that teams he never played for retired his number says volumes.

So why doesn’t the NBA send the greatest player in its history a brilliant gesture by retiring the #23 league-wide?

The NHL retired Wayne Gretzky’s #99 on Feb. 2, 2000 at the NHL All Star Game in Toronto for his contributions to the game. He revolutionized the game of hockey, winning championships in Edmonton, and leading the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. He ended up being the NHL’s All-Time leading scorer, and in goals, assists, and points scored. Jordan did not get to be the all-time leading scorer in the NBA, but he brought ratings that were never seen, and will not be seen. Not even the man who is the most-known #23 today, LeBron James, is going to bring the same audience. Ratings were up when Jordan made his way back to the NBA in 1996, and again in 2000, and during the periods where he left, the ratings dropped. The NBA should retire MJ’s #23 just like the NHL retired Gretzky’s #99. The numbers of both these players are iconic with the league, and #23 should not be shared with anyone else, like the #99 is synonymous with the NHL.

So come on David Stern, if you want a big event in Dallas, retire MJ’s # leaguewide at the NBA All-Star Game 2010. Let LeBron be grandfathered… as long as he’s in Cleveland. If he leaves, he must have another number. Sounds like a good plan, and it would bring in those every important ratings that the league craves.

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