Bronny James on Honoring Rapper Juice WRLD With No. 9 Jersey: ‘Juice Has Been a Big Part of Me’

During his introductory press conference with the Lakers on Tuesday, a freshly-drafted Bronny James said he was honoring the late Juice WRLD by choosing the No. 9 for his jersey.

The 19-year-old son of LeBron James told journalists he picked the number as tribute to the late rapper, who touted the number on his body as a tattoo, and referenced it throughout his short-lived but successful music career.

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“Juice [WRLD] has just been a big part of me keeping calm in situations that I’ve been through,” James said. “Just paying homage to him, especially because he passed. It’s a really important thing for me.”

Juice explained the meaning of the No. 9 in an interview with MTV News in 2018, saying the number represents “taking whatever hell, whatever bad situation or whatever struggle you’re going through and turning it into something positive,” since 999 is 666 — often associated with the devil or evil — reversed.

Juice died in 2019 from an accidental oxycodone and codeine overdose. His lyrics often dealt with themes of depression, substance abuse and death. Since his passing, Juice’s mother has become an outspoken advocate about mental health. She started the Live Free 999 Fund, a charitable organization which aims to help young people struggling with their mental health, in Juice’s name.

As for James, the new player is set to appear as part of the California Classic Summer League, which begins on July 6. He will also be playing in both the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League throughout July.

See a clip of the press conference below.

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