- LeBron James took Anthony Davis out to dinner in Los Angeles shortly after the Lakers traded for the All-Star big man.
- According to a report, James wrote Davis a card and put a No. 23 "Davis" jersey in a to-go bag to give Davis his jersey number.
- Nike ended up squashing the number exchange, and Davis chose No. 3 instead, but said the gesture still resonated with him.
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After the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis, LeBron James was so excited that he took Davis out to dinner to woo him and present him with a gift, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
According to McMenamin, James took Davis to a trendy Italian restaurant in L.A. called Jon & Vinny's, where James was such a frequent visitor the chef began making off-menu dishes for James.
"He wants to really sell it to Anthony that, him, possibly the greatest player of all-time, wants to impress this guy and make him feel comfortable and welcome and warm and appreciated," McMenamin said on ESPN's "The Lowe Post" podcast while discussing the story.
According to McMenamin, James went back to the kitchen of the restaurant to get a to-go bag and stuffed a jersey in there. Later, during dinner, James said his wife, Savannah, wrote Davis a card.
"I was like, 'Why is Savannah giving me a card?'" Davis told McMenamin. He read the card, which said "Welcome to LA," among other things, and realized it was actually signed by James.
James then pulled the jersey out of the bag and handed it to Davis. Davis thought it was simply James' Lakers jersey — jersey swaps have become common in the NBA — before realizing that it was a No. 23 jersey with "Davis" written on the back. James was gifting Davis his number.
"He was like, 'I know you wanted 23.' For him to, in an instant, just say, 'Here. Here's 23. You can have it.' … It was a cool moment," Davis told McMenamin.
Of course, the plan was later foiled. Nike intervened and told James that switching jersey numbers would result in "tens of millions" of dollars in wasted inventory, according to McMenamin.
Davis later said he ended up playing "NBA 2K" to find a new jersey number and settled on No. 3, his high school number.
Nonetheless the gesture resignated with Davis.
"It speaks about who he is and how bad he wanted me to be here."