Well isn’t this interesting.
Thanks to a tweet by JA Adande, I was alerted to this oh-so-interesting product listing at store.nba.com. That, ladies and gentlemen, would be a Chicago Bulls #6 jersey. The name on the back? Who else? James.
Now, just to make sure I wasn’t overlooking something, I checked the Bulls most updated roster. There is a #6, but it Ronald Murray, not someone named James.
And, if you’ll recall, LeBron James indicated last season that he would be changing his number to 6 after the 2009-10 season.
So…what the hell could this mean?
Before we go any further, here are a couple of screen grabs because I assume the Bulls #6 jersey will be taken down soon, if it isn’t already.
First, a screenshot of the jerseys in the Bulls NBA store. You see the #6 jersey there with all of the others.
Now, the actual product page itself. I had to shrink the picture to get it to fit here and – lo and behold – I couldn’t get a screenshot of the enlarged version of the jersey because the product page was deleted literally as I’m typing this. Wow.
Anyway, here is the screenshot of the product page:
During the small window of time that I had, I enlarged the image and saw that it said “James” on the back, clear as day. I guess you’ll just have to trust me.
Now let’s look at what this could mean.
First off, I have no clue how long that product has been listen in the NBA store. It might have been in there for weeks as a way for the Bulls and NBA to capitalize on the LeBron frenzy.
However, wouldn’t you think that teams like the Knicks would have a James #6 jersey as well? I checked. They don’t.
I’m also starting to see some chatter (now that the listing has been removed) that this is just a custom jersey – as it says it is in the listing – that someone made of Bulls #6 with James on the back. Perhaps it is, but then look at the Knicks store; I don’t see any James #6 jerseys in there and you’d have to think that some excited Knick fan – or a fan of another potential LeBron team – would have made one in the last couple of months.
Additionally, NBA free agents cannot even officially sign new contracts until July 8th. So even if LeBron had a wink-wink-nod-nod deal with the Bulls, we wouldn’t officially know about until the 8th. I would assume that the NBA wouldn’t jump the gun of its own rules and free agency timeline and put merchandise in its official store prematurely.
So…I ask again, what the hell could this mean?
Perhaps the NBA, in preparing for LeBron’s ultimate change of address, mocked up some #6 jerseys of a bunch of teams to post as soon as LeBron’s name was signed to a new contract. Maybe an overzealous (or careless) web designer decided to post it without authorization. Maybe there is a Bulls fan back there manning the controls and wanted to have a little bit of fun.
Maybe it was just a weird, random coinky-dink.
Update: Two solid tweets from Brooks since I posted this:
The Bulls #6 “James” jersey on NBA store website is a customized name & # jersey. Not a standard item.
You can see the jersey # and name is customizable by doing a search on the item # and URL. It’s a generic item #.
Obviously he’s right, and I could tell that when I looked at it. I just wonder how it got into the actual Bulls store like that. Probably just a glitch.
Probably. (Remember, this is a league run by David “Creased Corner” Stern after all…
I don’t know. I have no idea. I just found this interesting. It could be nothing or it could be something. And the fact that I felt compelled to write about this absolutely shows a) just how insane the LeBron-a-thon is right now; and, b) how much I felt like procrastinating and not doing the work I should be doing.
Regardless of what the reason is, I think even C&C Music Factory would agree that this is one of those things that make you go, hmmmm….
Anyway, this post was for you Bulls fans. Enjoy.
Image Source: Photobucket