CLEVELAND — The No. 22 Cavaliers banner will remain hanging from the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena, but that jersey number will also be seen on the court early next week.
Larry Nance Jr. announced Thursday he had been given the go-ahead by the league and the Cavs to switch from No. 24 to 22, the number worn by his father as a member of the Phoenix Suns and with Cleveland, which retired it Jan. 30, 1995.
“I couldn’t be happier with it,” Nance said prior to Thursday night’s game against the Washington Wizards. “I’m thrilled. I’ve been wearing 22 my whole life. To get to wear it for the Cleveland Cavaliers is beyond a dream come true.”
Because No. 22 had been retired by the Los Angeles Lakers in honor of Elgin Baylor, Nance wore No. 7 in his 2½ seasons with that franchise, which traded him to Cleveland at the Feb. 8 deadline.
The former Revere High and Wyoming star said Wednesday he would wear No. 24 with the Cavs at least for the rest of this season, but the team and league realized this was a unique circumstance and gave him permission for the in-season switch.
The change won’t go into effect until next week, probably for a Tuesday home game against Brooklyn, because the Cavs need to customize No. 22 jerseys for the 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward.
The Cavs also need to recall No. 24 jerseys that were available for purchase. The team will allow fans who already bought those to exchange them for No. 22 Nance Jr. jerseys.
“I can’t imagine the league has seen anything like this or will see anything like this for a very long time,” Nance said. “It was kind of a special request they let get through the cracks. I’m excited about it.”
A two-time All-Star with the Cavs and inaugural NBA All-Star Game slam dunk contest winner with the Suns in 1984, Nance Sr. was elated by the number change, his son said.
“My dad’s a man of few words,” Nance Jr. said. “He let it be known with a smile that he was excited.”
Asked if the change meant he would start pulling his socks up to his knees like his father did in his playing days, the younger Nance laughed and jokingly said, “This means short shorts and high white socks.”
Nance Sr. and wife Jaynee still live in Richfield Township. Youngest son Pete is a senior at Revere and will continue his playing career at Northwestern. Daughter Casey also starred at Revere and went on to play for Dayton.
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