Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball is changing his uniform number from No. 2 to No. 1 for next season, according to Shams Charania. Neither Charania nor Ball himself has offered an explanation about the decision to change numbers. Ball had worn No. 1 throughout his career, including in high school at Chino Hills and SPIRE Academy as well as abroad for the Illawarra Hawks.
Notably, No. 2 is the number worn by LaMelo's brother, Lonzo Ball, who has donned it at UCLA and with the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and now the Chicago Bulls. That is a possible explanation for Ball's decision to make this swap, as it might offer a bit of a distinction between the two. Typically, when a player changes numbers, they do so for one of a few standard reasons.
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Their team might have acquired a higher profile player who wants to wear the number, but Ball is Charlotte's franchise player, so it would be unlikely he would give it up for a teammate. They occasionally do it to reflect some sort of change in internal circumstances after a transitional period in their careers, but Ball has played just two seasons. Malik Monk had been wearing No. 1 in Charlotte when Ball arrived, but he played for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Perhaps this change was a year in the making, as the league requires a certain amount of notice before changing uniform numbers.
Ball made his first All-Star Game last season, but for the second consecutive season the Hornets were knocked out in the play-in tournament before they could reach the playoffs. The Hornets are hoping the still-developing Ball in his new number and returning head coach Steve Clifford can help get Charlotte over the top.