Four-time MVP LeBron James will wear No. 23 in his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
ESPN's Darren Rovell reported on July 27 that James himself made the announcement on his Twitter account:
"Sixteen days after he decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James has finally picked his number.
"At around 1 p.m. ET Sunday on his Instagram account, James announced he would go back to wearing No. 23. He also shared the link on his Twitter account.
"Three minutes later, Adidas spokeswoman Madeline Breskin confirmed that the company had begun setting up the machines for a production run on its 20 automated printers at its sports licensing facility in Indianapolis.
"Blake Lundberg, vice president of the facility, said it will be shipping jerseys and James No. 23 T-shirts out to more than 140 accounts in the next 48 hours.
"Adidas would not say how many jerseys would have to be made but confirmed that Cavaliers jerseys were initially sold out in home, away and alternate replicas. Pre-orders had begun July 11, the day James announced his return to Cleveland, and the company had to account for how many blank Cavaliers jerseys were left over since most jerseys are made in China and take at least a month by boat to arrive in the United States.
"James wore No. 23 from his rookie season in 2003-04 to the 2009-10 season, his initial stint with the Cavaliers, but he switched to his Olympic No. 6 when he went to the Miami Heat. James' number change at the time, he said, was partly to help the league honor Michael Jordan by permanently retiring his number across the league.
"That never happened.
"Four veteran players currently wear No. 23: Jason Richardson (Philadelphia 76ers), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) and Kevin Martin (Minnesota Timberwolves)."
In another development, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah -- the 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year -- told ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell on July 27 he believes his team has a legitimate chance of beating James, its long-time tormentor:
"Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah knows that in order to win a championship this season, he and his team are going to have to push through an opponent that has repeatedly stood in their way: LeBron James.
"Every time LeBron steps onto the court he's affecting the game,' Noah told ESPNChicago.com on Sunday during a promotional event for Adidas. 'He's the best player in the game, but that being said, I think we have a chance to beat them. And that's the goal. We want to beat LeBron James, we want to beat the Miami Heat, we want to beat all those teams who are in our way. He's obviously one of the big obstacles.'
"The emotional leader of the Bulls is excited about the roster moves his team has made over the past few weeks and is confident they can overcome James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
"Noah understands the expectations that are out there for the Bulls, but he isn't trying to worry about the hype right now. He is making his way back from arthroscopic left knee surgery on May 2 and says he will be 'ready' for training camp. He spent some time playing light 3-on-3 Sunday and realizes that with a healthy Derrick Rose back in the fold, the Bulls will be expected to contend for a title.
"'It's hard to say because a lot of things have to go your way to win a championship and I understand that, he said. 'But I know that it's a long grind, right now, to win a championship, you have to take it step by step. You have to be focused. You have to be healthy, you have to have good team chemistry, so there's a lot of factors. I think (the front office) put together a good core. And now, the only thing left to do is get to work and see how far we can take it.'
"Noah is confident in the moves Bulls executives Gar Forman and John Paxson made in the offseason, including adding Pau Gasol, European star Nikola Mirotic and rookie Doug McDermott. The Bulls have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who recently dropped out of Team USA's training camp because of the lingering uncertainty regarding his status. Whether the Bulls end up with Love or not, Noah sounds emboldened by the group the Bulls have in place now.
"'I think we've had a lot of very solid additions,' he said. 'I think we've had a lot of very solid additions,' he said. 'I think Tony Snell had a very good summer league. He's somebody who I expect to contribute for us, and the rookie as well, McDermott. Then, you see Pau and Mirotic and all those guys, even Aaron Brooks. Everything (the front office) did, and bringing our guys back, I think is going to be great.'"