I enjoy Stan Van Gundy's curmudgeonly nature. Sometimes, I poke fun at him. But I've never enjoyed anything he's ever said more than his stance on LeBron James' call for the NBA to retire Michael Jordan's No. 23.
"It's a nice gesture," Van Gundy said Friday, "but he is not Jackie Robinson."
Nor is he Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, or Oscar Robertson. No basketball league retires No. 23 until those other numbers are retired, too.
Retiring jersey numbers is a team decision, not a league decision. Funny, I thought it was a LeBron decision. I thought everything was up to LeBron. I wouldn't be surprised if LeBron wanted No. 23 retired because it's his number.
What made this even more comical was that LeBron said he'd be switching to No. 6 out of deference to Jordan -- but not out of deference to Russell, evidently.
LeBron's insistence on sucking up to Jordan is, to borrow a phrase from the King himself, getting old. He should go back to talking about how humbled he is that half the teams in the NBA want him to wear their jersey, regardless of the number on it.
And one more suggestion: If any numbers get retired, it should be those worn by the actual pioneers who broke the NBA's color barrier: Chuck Cooper (first black player drafted), Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (first signed), and Earl Lloyd (first to play in a regular season game).