What incentives are there for NBA players to change their jerseys besides a retired number?

The NBA retired the No. 6 jersey in honor of the late basketball legend, former Boston Celtics player Bill Russell. The No. 6 has not been worn by a Celtics player since 1972, following Russell’s 13-year career, during which he won 11 championships. Most teams have retired a number of notable players in the past; This is the first time a number has been retired for all teams in the league.

According to nba.com, 16 players wore the No. 6 jersey during the 2021-2022 season. A grandfathering clause allows players already using the number to continue to do so, meaning players like LeBron James and Kristaps Porziņģis can continue to use the number 6 can play.

During Russell’s NBA career between 1956 and 1969, the two-time Hall of Famer exclusively used a No. 6 jersey. However, this is not always the case for those who play for multiple teams throughout their careers.

A player may have to relinquish their current number if it is already in use by someone else or if that number is retired for the team they are joining. James, who used #6 like Russell, did not always do so. He alternated between number 23 and 6 during his 19-year career, which included playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and now the LA Lakers.

Kobe Bryant Jersey Retirement

Although the number is already in use, some current players may still choose to hang up their No. 6 jerseys in honor of Russell. When No. 26 retired in honor of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, the league made the exception of allowing players to switch to a different number mid-season.

While there’s no word on which players will change numbers, there are incentives for a player to make a switch that go beyond showing respect.

NBA.com recently published a list of the 15 most popular jerseys sold through its online store in the 2021-2022 season: James, James Harden and Steph Curry land in the top three spots. According to Investopedia, league merchandise sales bring in more than $1 billion each season.

The number switch could mean another boost in shirt sales for some, although it’s unclear whether it will affect a player’s bottom line. According to reports, players can receive up to 50 percent of the earnings from goods; However, earnings from merch sales count towards the player’s salary cap.

In other cases, negotiations, sometimes with cash incentives, take place when a player joins a team where the number is already in use.

See also: What is the NBA Championship Trophy and Louis Vuitton Case Manufactured by Tiffany & Co Really Worth?

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