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Reilly: NBA should retire Jordan's No. 23

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Rick Reilly, making his Sportscenter anchor debut on ESPN this morning, gave a brief editorial toward the end of the show, saying the Hall of Fame isn't enough to honor Michael Jordan's legacy. He suggested that Jordan's No. 23 should be retired throughout the NBA -- as hockey did with Wayne Gretzky's 99 and baseball did with Jackie Robinson's 42.

Miami Heat president Pat Riley retired Jordan's number throughout his organization -- and Jordan never even played there.

"In honor of your greatness and for all you've done for the game of basketball -- and not just the NBA, but for all the fans around the world -- we want to honor you tonight and hang your jersey, No. 23, from the rafters," Riley told Jordan during a 2003 ceremony.

The arguments for retiring his number throughout the NBA are many. Jordan transformed the game of basketball, inspired generations and is largely responsible for making the NBA the enterprise it is today.

"23 needs to hang in the air," Reilly argued, "kind of like Jordan did in all those epic flights to the rim."

What do you think? How would you feel about your team retiring No. 23? Is there another player in NBA history deserving of this honor? 

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15 Comments

I totally agree. The greatest players who have ever played the game will all say that Michael is their favorite player. No athlete has had so great an impact on the world by simply playing the game than did Jordan. The only argument that I would have against, is that there is a certain payer who currently occupies the number 23 that might transform the game again.

Good point Andrew...but how many "Jordan want-a-be's" have there been since he retired? Seems every kids who makes a splash on the court is tagged "the next Jordan". No one, NO ONE has come close to his "Airness". I've traveled the world and Jordan is as well known as Coke. Lebron is pretty amazing in his own right but as to yet he has not come close to Jordan's impact.

Nobody is worthy of wearing number 23 on an NBA court. Not even Lebron James! Nobody, will ever lead their team to six championships, the way Jordan did it! Nobody can even be compared to MJ…

Well I personally don't agree with nobody being able to wear #23. Its just a number... nobody said don't wear # 32 or 33 so whats the big deal? So what, lebron would gave to wear #16 or something?

Some of you don't really seem to understand the sport retiring the number.
As Jackie Robinsons number was retired in baseball, everyone who was already wearing it was allowed to keep it. Mariano Rivera still wears it. They wouldn't take lebrons jersey away...

If anyone's should be retired it's Bill Russell.

I think they should retire the number. Like it was said before, no one will have to give up their number 23 who is already wearing it. Retire the number. We all know Jordan's place. There is no argument. Thats what people use to say before ge became what he is now. There is no arguably. It is just simply fact. The man is good.

I think they should retire the number. Like it was said before, no one will have to give up their number 23 who is already wearing it. Retire the number. We all know Jordan's place. There is no argument. Thats what people use to say before ge became what he is now. There is no arguably. It is just simply fact. The man is good.

BOB get off the drugs. Bill was a hell of a player but he didn't do near for the game what MJ has.

Are you guys serious?!? Michael Jordan may have done a great deal for basketball, but retire the number 23 from the ENTIRE GAME? I don't know about that.

Jackie Robinson, I can understand. His accomplishments transcended the sport, and delved into how we see things today in this country with race. Historical.

I don't know... I just can't see the league retiring 23 forever... for all teams. Even though the number is synonomous with Jordan, anywhere you go...

i think they should retire the number, but give players wearing it now the option to continue like lebron. do you think this will become reality, who decides on this and what about the logo change? i understand that talk is going on about that as well, and Mr. West said he was in agreement with it!

I agree...100%, not even the "King" himself should wear that 23 jersey in Cleveland. Right now if anyone...as an active player, it should be the "Black Mamba" over there in LA...but no..he has 24, because he knows 23 is "His Airness" Michael Jordan's number 23 should be retired throughout the NBA...forever...period.

Wayne Gretzky held or shared 61 NHL records upon his retirement on April 18, 1999, including 40 regular season records, 15 playoff records, and 6 all-star records.

Michael Jordon 13

This whole thing started because of Lebron, he is dropping the number 23 and wants the entire NBA to retire it

I agree with Tom, Bob lay of the drugs. 10 out of 10 people know who MJ is while 2 out of 10 might know who Bill Russell is. Retire MJ's 23 it won't be an issue Lebron already said he would be willing to give up 23 for Mike and wear 16. And why do you think he started wearing 23 in the first place!?

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on September 11, 2009 6:57 AM.

Jerry Krause won't be attending Michael Jordan's induction into the Hall of Fame was the previous entry in this blog.

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