Dave McMenaminESPN Staff WriterClose
- Lakers and NBA reporter for ESPN.
- Covered the Lakers and NBA for ESPNLosAngeles.com from 2009-14, the Cavaliers from 2014-18 for ESPN.com and the NBA for NBA.com from 2005-09.
LOS ANGELES — LeBron James apologized Sunday for lyrics he shared on his Instagram account over the weekend that included the line, “getting that Jewish money.”
“Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone,” James told ESPN following the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 107-99 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “That’s not why I chose to share that lyric. I always [post lyrics]. That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music and that was the byproduct of it. So, I actually thought it was a compliment and obviously it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.”
James was quoting the song “ASMR” by hip-hop artist 21 Savage and typed the lyrics, “We been getting that Jewish money, Everything is Kosher,” onto his Instagram Stories as he rode as a passenger in a vehicle while wearing a purple Lakers sweatshirt on Saturday afternoon.
There’s no indication that the NBA has any plans to fine James, a league source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
James, who has 45.8 million Instagram followers, received some criticism online Sunday after sports business reporter Darren Rovell of The Action Network posted a screen grab from James’ Instagram story to his Twitter account, taking umbrage with James’ judgment.
While James said he interpreted the lyric as touting a strength of the Jewish business community, there is a long-standing stereotype linking Jewish people’s priorities to money and material goods that the lyrics gloss over.
“Historically, Jewish materialism was used by anti-Semites seeking to demean the value of Judaism,” Yale professor Eliyahu Stern told the Times of Israel in August 2018. “It’s often been used as a way of delegitimizing Judaism’s spiritual and religious values by those who depict Judaism as a cover for hoarding, egoism, and an expression of difference.”