The Morning Column: September 3, 2021
LeBron James' new No. 6 Lakers jersey was officially released Thursday and was the most sold jersey on Fanatics over the past 24 hours.
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1. 🏀 LeBron James’ No. 6 Lakers jersey on sale
LeBron James officially switched his jersey number from 23 to 6 earlier this offseason. He wanted to do it two years ago after the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis in order to give his new teammate the number he had worn for most of his life but Nike, which was looking at an eight-figure inventory hit in outdated James jerseys, temporary stopped the move.
Two years later, James and Nike are now ready to make the change and Fanatics on Thursday began mass producing James’ new No. 6 Lakers jersey and selling it online and at retail stores. A Fanatics spokesperson said James had the top selling jersey on the site Thursday and expected that would continue through the holiday weekend.
While James went through with his number change, Davis had a change of heart and decided to keep the No. 3 he has worn since coming to Los Angeles. When I conducted the first interview with Davis after he was traded to the Lakers two years ago, he explained his jersey number history to me.
“Being from Chicago, [Michael] Jordan had 23 and he was my favorite basketball player for a while,” Davis said. “But honestly, I was No. 3 and No. 30 before I was No. 23. When I got to high school as a freshman, upperclassmen already had No. 3 and 30 and they get first say, so they pulled a jersey out of a bag and threw me the jersey and said, ‘This is the jersey you’re going to wear,’ and it just happened to be 23. Obviously, Jordan wore it and me being younger, watching LeBron, that number just stuck with me. It was definitely exciting to know I had that number to follow Jordan and LeBron, who wore that number as well.”
2. 6️⃣ A big day for the 6
Not only did James’ No. 6 Lakers jersey get released Thursday but Drake released his sixth studio album, “Certified Lover Boy,” and James, Kevin Durant and other athletes couldn’t stop tweeting about the 6, which represents Drake’s hometown of Toronto.
It was almost six years ago that James posted a photo on his Instagram of Drake, wearing a Farewell Mamba jacket, placing an imaginary crown on James with the caption, “The 6 God crowns the kid from Akron!”
For those who haven’t heard Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy,” you can listen to it here:
3. ⚾️ Dodgers, Giants prepare for big series
The Dodgers were in sole possession of first place in the NL West for less than 24 hours. The Giants re-joined them in the division penthouse after a 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, setting up an epic showdown this weekend. For the first time since Sept. 18, 1997, the Dodgers and Giants are tied for the division lead after August. The longtime rivals will start a three-game series in San Francisco tonight with the Dodgers scheduled to start David Price today, Julio Urias on Saturday and Walker Buehler on Sunday.
Max Scherzer is dealing with a tight hamstring but is scheduled to start next week when the Dodgers head to St. Louis to play the Cardinals. While Scherzer has been as good as advertised since arriving to Los Angeles, Trea Turner, who came to the Dodgers as part of that deal, has been just as good, if not better.
“The addition of Trea Turner was like adding another Mookie Betts,” Dodgers broadcaster Tim Neverett told me yesterday. “I mean people have to realize that Turner is probably going to win the batting title and is going to win the stolen base title and the Dodgers have only had one other player do that in their history, Jackie Robinson in 1949 and Jackie won the MVP that year.”
4. 📕 Tim Neverett talks about the Dodgers and his new book
Dodgers broadcaster Tim Neverett came on my show on The Mightier 1090 and Spotify on Thursday to talk about the Dodgers this season and the release of his new book, “COVID Curveball: An Inside View of the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers World Championship Season.” One of the most heartwarming stories was Neverett talking about his relationship with Mookie Betts, who he got to know while they were both with the Boston Red Sox.
“The day after my dad died, we were both in Boston together and Mookie was coming up the dugout steps, coming over from taking BP and he said, ‘I’m so sorry, I heard what happened, can I do anything?’ I'm like, ‘You know what, I’ve never asked you for anything, Mookie, but yeah, I want a picture with you with the bat that you walked off the game with last night.’ And he said, ‘I'll be right back. I'll go get the bat.’ So, he ran in, got the bat, came out and we took a photo. I took that photo, got it framed and I gave it to my mom because Mookie was her favorite player. She went to the couch, and we had pictures of my kids over the couch. She took the pictures of my kids down and put the picture of Mookie up. I told him that story the other day and he was howling laughing.”
“Mookie is going to mean a lot to the Dodgers, not just this year, but in future years to come. When he came here, the first press conference he had when he sat alongside David Price before spring training started, he said, ‘I'm here to win rings.’ Plural. Well, his first year he got one and he's going to be in position to perhaps win another one this year.”
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
6. 📆 Sept. 3, 2008: Oklahoma City Thunder are born
On this day 13 years ago, the name, logo and colors for the Oklahoma City Thunder were unveiled. The team formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics had already relocated to Oklahoma City but the team’s name, logo and colors would not be making the move, leaving the team without an identity momentarily. The last move made by the Seattle Supersonics was drafting Russell Westbrook out of UCLA on June 26, 2008 with the fourth overall pick of the draft.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Shaun White
Happy birthday to Shaun White. “The Flying Tomato” is turning 35 years old today. White, who was born and raised in San Diego, is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and holds the record for the most X-Games gold medals and the most Olympic gold medals by a snowboarder.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
⚾️ Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels – $9
⚽️ Sporting Kansas City at LAFC – $28
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 6:30 p.m. – Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels – Bally Sports West
⚾️ 6:45 p.m. – Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants – SportsNet LA
⚽️ 7:30 p.m. – Sporting Kansas City at LAFC – UniMas
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Thursday’s show, we talked about Dodgers being back in first place and talked to Dodgers broadcaster Tim Neverett about his new book on the Dodgers' World Series season.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you on Monday!