Upon his return to Cleveland, LeBron James swapped his 6 for his old 23. Obviously, the 23 that always comes to mind is Michael Jordan, His Airness. There has been talk of a NBA-wide retirement of 23, similar to the MLB-wide retirement of 42 for Jackie Robinson.
23, the number, has returned
That brings to mind, what is the value of a jersey number?
In all sports, there are coveted numbers. Number 1 tends to be a common number across all sports, but each has its own specialties. In soccer, 10 often ends up in the hands of the forward, the most dynamic scorer on the team. Wayne Rooney, Eusebio, Roberto Baggio, Johann Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Pele, and most prominently today, Messi.
7 tends to be popular in America, as the number is deemed lucky.
32, 5, 12, and 8 are also some very popular numbers. Often times, the best players on teams get first pick at a number. In some sports like football, certain positions get certain number ranges (ex: 80s for most wide receivers, QBs from 1-19, etc.). It just so happens that the playmakers of a sport tend to get popular numbers and/or make numbers popular.
When players get traded or sign with a new team in free agency, they may face a conflict with another player over wanting the same number. In these cases, the incumbent players often "sell" their jersey number for is common, sometimes for cash, sometimes for a large donation to a chosen charity, etc. In addition, when a player swaps numbers in the NBA voluntarily, he/she must compensate to pay for all the unsold merchandise with the old number, as was the case for Paul George's switch to PG13.
In terms of the actual value of a number, the reality is that it's just a number. Plenty of players and fans are superstitious, but truthfully, a number is just some patch of fabric sewn onto a jersey.
How much do you value your/your idols' number?
Let us know in the comments below and in the poll!