• C.J. Watson OK with giving up No. 23; Toney Douglas not so sure

  • By | November 13, 2009 8:11:52 PM PST

By Chris Sheridan

If a LeBron James-inspired petition is ever actually circulated among NBA players who wear No. 23, asking them to give up that number as a tribute to Michael Jordan, C.J. Watson of the Golden State Warriors would be in favor of it.

Toney Douglas of the New York Knicks? He's not quite as ready to make that commitment.

"It really doesn't matter to me what he said about the number thing. I don't really have a comment about it good or not, it really doesn't affect me," said Douglas, who said he has been wearing No. 23 since he was 3 years old because his favorite player at the time was wearing it. "I always looked up to him, he was my favorite basketball player, so I always wore that number because I liked Michael Jordan."

The future use of the No. 23 came under discussion Friday after LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers said he would switch from No. 23 to No. 6 next season as a tribute to Jordan, also calling on other NBA players currently wearing that number to give it up.

There is no precedent in basketball for every team retiring the same number en masse, as Major League Baseball did a few years ago with Jackie Robinson's No. 42, although the Miami Heat have retired Jordan's number even though he never played for that franchise. A league spokesman said the decision to retire numbers has always been in the hands of the teams.

Watson said he chose No. 23 because his college number, 32, was already taken when he arrived in Golden State two years ago.

"I'd feel very honored to give up my number. He was the greatest player who ever played, so it wouldn't be a problem or anything like that. He's accomplished everything there is to do in basketball. He's done a lot," Watson said.

Other NBA players currently wearing No. 23 are Devin Brown of New Orleans, Marcus Camby of the Clippers, Stephen Graham of Houston, Wes Matthews of Utah, Kevin Martin of Sacramento, Jodie Meeks of Milwaukee, Byron Mullens of Oklahoma City, Jason Richardson of Phoenix, Martell Webster of Portland and Louis Williams of Philadelphia.


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