CLEVELAND — Newly acquired forward Larry Nance Jr. will be abandoning his No. 24 Cleveland Cavaliers jersey next week to don No. 22, the retired number that his father, Larry Nance Sr., wore when he played for the Cavs.
“I’ll be wearing No. 22 from here on out,” Nance Jr. said during an impromptu news conference in the Cavs locker room before the team hosted the Washington Wizards on Thursday. “My dad’s jersey will get to stay retired in the rafters, so, I couldn’t be happier with it. I think that starts next week, and I’m thrilled. I’ve been wearing 22 my whole life, and to get to wear it for the Cleveland Cavaliers is beyond a dream come true.”
Nance Jr., who joined Cleveland following a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline, initially chose No. 24 to “make it easy for everybody.” He was also concerned that if he chose No. 22, that would mean his father’s No. 22 banner would have to come down from the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena.
Over the All-Star break, the Cavs organization revisited the uniform situation and got approval from their marketing department, the front office, the league and Nike in order to make the swap, according to a team spokesman. The league typically does not allow a player to switch his uniform number midseason, but Nance Jr. was granted an exception as a legacy.
Nance Jr., who competed in the dunk contest over All-Star Weekend wearing a replica of his father’s No. 22 Phoenix Suns jersey as he recreated his father’s famous “rock-the-cradle” slam, was proud to share the news with his dad.
“My dad is a man of few words, so he kind of just let me know with a smile that he was excited,” Nance Jr. said.
He will continue to wear No. 24 for the next several games while his new No. 22 uniform is mocked up in all four colorways the Cavs wear. He’s expected to wear No. 22 for the first time Tuesday when the Cavs host the Brooklyn Nets.
Anyone who already purchased a No. 24 uniform for Nance Jr. will be able to exchange it for a No. 22 uniform at the Cavs team shop at Quicken Loans Arena, and there will also be information posted on Cavs.com about how to do the swap through the mail, according to a team spokesman.
Nance Jr. joked that his ode to his father won’t stop just at the jersey.
“This means short shorts and high white socks,” he said with a laugh. “Absolutely.”