LeBron James gifted Anthony Davis his No. 23 with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the rule that uniform changes must be filed by March 15th prevented the switch for the 19-20 season.
Sources tell ESPN's Dave McMenamin that the NBA would have bent the rules to allow James to swap his jersey number, but Nike intervened in the matter.
Both James and Davis represent Nike, but they were unwilling to waste the potential of tens of millions of dollars in wasted inventory.
"He was like, 'I know you wanted 23,'" says Davis, who wore the number at both the University of Kentucky and all seven seasons in New Orleans. "For him to, in an instant, just say, 'Here. Here's 23. You can have it.' ... It was a cool moment."