By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers will again have a No. 22, and he looks eerily familiar.
Larry Nance Jr. is getting to honor his father by wearing his dad’s retired No. 22 jersey with the Cavs, who worked with the NBA to make the unique tribute possible.
“My dad’s jersey will get to stay retired in the rafters, so, I couldn’t be happier with it,” Nance Jr. said Thursday night before making his home debut with the Cavs, who recently acquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. “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. will begin wearing No. 22 next week. For now, he’ll be in No. 24, the number he chose after he was obtained from the Lakers.
When he was traded, Nance Jr. considered how special it would be to wear his dad’s number, which was retired by the Cavs in 1995 and hangs above Quicken Loans Arena. Larry Nance Sr. spent eight seasons with Cleveland and was a fan favorite because of his shot blocking and dunking skills.
The kid is just like his dad.
The younger Nance said his dad didn’t have a big reaction when he got the news.
“I called him and told him yesterday that we were kind of talking about it and got it passed,” he said. “My dad is a man of few words so he kind of just let me know with a smile that he was excited.”
Last weekend in Los Angeles, Nance Jr. wore his father’s No. 22 Phoenix jersey while participating in the dunk contest at the All-Star Game. Nance Jr. took his look a step further by dressing like his dad when he played in the 1980s.
Will he bring back the retro look?
“This means short shorts and high white socks,” Nance joked. “Absolutely.”
Nance Jr. was bracing himself for an emotional homecoming in his first home game with the Cavs. He cracked that one of the only problems he had since his return to Ohio was that his mom was trying to convince him to live at home again.
She’s relaxed on that request.
“They’re actually looking at a house right now,” he said. “So I think I’ve got her once she kind of got some national attention she was like, ‘Oh, gosh. All right. I guess.'”
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