Monday, July 23, 2012
Jersey Monday: LeBron James (USA 2004)
No, you're not seeing things, that's a USA Basketball jersey of LeBron James wearing No. 9, not his now-conventional No. 6. James was assigned the number when he played for the 2004 Athens Olympic Team, now better known as "The Nightmare Team" (though, really, that label applies much more to the 2002 FIBA World Championship Team that finished an embarrassing 6th while playing on home soil in Indianapolis).
James was coming off his Rookie of the Year season, but was buried on the bench by coach Larry Brown, who preferred to ride his veterans. The only players who scored less than James during that Olympics were Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Emeka Okafor. James shot 59.4% from the field in Athens, which made Brown's insistence on sticking with Richard Jefferson (32.1% shooting) even more baffling.
This was the only competition in which James wore No. 9 for Team USA. He ceded the number to Dwyane Wade -- who, in a twist of fate, had worn No. 6 in Athens.