Jersey Monday: LeBron James (Again)

Basketball season is here, and I promise, I'll try not to spotlight a different LeBron James jersey every week (I've already done four of them), but with LeBron entering a new era of his career, I figured I'd go way back to the beginning.

Pictured here is the first LeBron James jersey I ever purchased -- and it's not even an official jersey. I bought this during his senior season at St. Vincent-St. Mary's, from a bootleg jersey dealer on eBay. Obviously, schools are not allowed to sell jerseys with the names of their players on the back while they're still in school, even with someone like LeBron, whose amateur status was tenuous at best during his senior season.

This is a replica (though with sewn-on letters and numbers) of St. V-M's alternate gold jersey worn during LeBron's high school career. Thanks to my obsessive e-mail saving, I know I bought it on Feb. 22, 2003, and it cost me $122, which is actually less than I've paid for the majority of my LeBron jerseys.

Obviously, this jersey has James's familiar 23. While he's worn different numbers in the Olympics (9 in 2004, 6 in 2008) and the McDonald's All-American game (32 in 2003), tomorrow will mark the first time since his freshman year of high school that James plays a regular season game in something other than #23, and it's going to take some getting used to.

Jersey Monday will continue every Monday until I run out of jerseys to spotlight. And since I’ve got more than 150 of them, that could be awhile. I promise next week won't be another LeBron James jersey... I think.