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Old 11-14-2009, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Stan Van Gundy on Retiring No. 23: '(Jordan) Is Not Jackie Robinson'

LeBron James can stop wearing his No. 23 if he wants -- in deference to Michael Jordan -- but asking the rest of the league to follow his lead is only showing his immaturity.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was asked Friday morning about James' request, and he didn't hesitate to say he thinks the idea is misplaced.

"It's a nice gesture, but he (Jordan) is not Jackie Robinson. Baseball did it because it had historical significance,'' Van Gundy said. "There actually were guys before Michael who could play the game. Then you should retire numbers that (Bill) Russell, Wilt (Chamberlain), and certainly Oscar (Robertson) wore. I understand LeBron didn't grow up watching those guys, but still. ''

Van Gundy was speaking after his team practiced Friday morning, preparing for the New jersey Nets. He also rolled his eyes when asked about the Miami Heat retiring Jordan's No. 23 in the spring of 2003 as a show of respect. He was there as an assistant under coach Pat Riley at the time. He obviously didn't like that idea, either.

"I wasn't in the banner department,'' he said. "I'm just not one of those guys who thinks unquestionably that he (Jordan) was the best player of all time. I don't buy that. We've had a lot of great players at a lot of positions, so what are you going to do? Retire all the numbers, and pretty soon our guys will be wearing No. 327 because all the two-digit numbers are gone.''

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