Footballer Dani Alves wears #23 as a tribute to LeBron James
by rick olivares
Brazilian footballer Dani Alves celebrated his move from his long-time Spanish club, Barcelona, to Italian giants Juventus, by changing his shirt number from #6 to #23.
During a press conference that introduced him to the Italian media, Alves said that he is changing to #23 because of American basketball superstar LeBron James who inspires him as well.
“I chose this shirt number because it’s the number of some great champions like LeBron James,” Alves told reporters. “Just like I am doing now, he decided to move teams for a new challenge and reinvent himself. I hope this number can be a real motivation for me to reinvent myself as a Juventus player.”
The Brazilian promised to lead the Turin-based football club, that has won the past five Italian Serie A titles to a UEFA Champions League championship.
Alves, who is also a mainstay of the Brazil national team, enjoyed a sterling career for Barcelona at the right back position. While wearing Barcelona’s colors, Alves was a part of six La Liga, four Copa Del Rey, four Supercopa de España, three UEFA Champions League, three UEFA Super Cups, and three FIFA Club World Cup championships.
Alves previously wore #2 when he first transferred from Sevilla to Barcelona. He later switched to #22 in honor of former Barcelona teammate Eric Abidal whose career was ended because of liver problems, and last season #6 for former Barcelona teammate Xavi who left his long-time club for Qatari club Al Saad in May of 2015.
Alves isn’t however the only former high profile footballer to switch to #23.
English star David Beckham switched from #7, the number he wore at Manchester United, to #23 when he moved to Real Madrid. Beckham cited Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan as an inspiration. Jordan popularized the #23 as a jersey number.
Beckham continued to sport that number when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League soccer. He switched to #2 when he played on loan with AC Milan and later Paris St. Germain.