LeBron James Needs A Hard Reset After A Wild Holiday Week

Calling out the slave mentality of NFL owners, choosing 21 Savage as his go-to lyricist and a groin injury suggests Bron needs a reset.

This has been one of the more forgettable weeks in the career of LeBron James. It’s also been a very enlightening and unusual one.

LeBron has never played less than 62 games in a season in his 16-year career, but on Tuesday night he strained his left groin during the Los Angeles Lakers127-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors, and he will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of the injury.

It was a huge Christmas Day win for the Lakers, but the victory was overshadowed by Bron’s injury. His timeline for recovery is considered day-to-day, pending the MRI results.

This week, we witnessed the physical vulnerabilities of LeBron for the first time.

We also witnessed the LeBron James that will impact the country long after his playing career is over. A player who is not afraid to lose endorsements or risk being politically incorrect. A guy who may say or Tweet some things off the cuff, that might offend a section of his diverse body of fans. 

LeBron’s never been attacked for anything he’s done off the court (‘The Decision’ was basketball related) — until this week when he caught some flack for the manner in which he expressed himself.

First he got criticized for talking about old, white NFL owners and the league’s slave mentality towards its athletes on his HBO show  “The Shop.” He boosted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and disparaged the NFL owners who to this day are still blackballing Colin Kaepernick. 


Then Bron got caught up in a mini-scandal on Monday for posting a photo with a caption quoting 21 Savage’s song “ASMR,” which read, “We been getting that Jewish Money, Everything is Kosher.” The post was later deleted after internet users called the words anti-Semitic.

You see, Bron got caught in a classic  “when keeping it real goes wrong” situation. It also proves that no matter how far we’ve come in this country and how mainstream rap has become with millenials all sharing in one musical pot and enjoying the liberties of using N-words, stereotypical references and the like — not everyone understands the context of a rap lyric. Rap is pure entertainment, but when it skews with race, religion or perceived anti-semitism that’s always a recipe for disaster.  

On one hand, Brown speaks on the slave mentality of NFL owners and leads the charge for black consciousness and empowerment. On the other hand, he uses rap lyrics to express his affinity for how the Jewish community seems to pool resources and stick together creating  financial security for generations to come.

Some words are just lightning rods, especially when used by people outside of that race, ethnicity or culture. Bron got caught up in the moment of listening to some Savage in the car. He was feeling good and hit that send button on a message that he probably should have stayed away from. He got caught being human and we’ve rarely see that side of him in the past, but authenticity is obviously something that he’s committed too.

“Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone. 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,” James told ESPN. “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.”

Once LeBon apologized, it was a domino effect.  21 Savage, who dropped a new album “I AM>I Was” on Friday, apologized for his words as well.


In LeBron’s case, the apology was understandable considering how his words could have been misinterpreted by members of the Jewish community who don’t follow 21 Savage or rap lyrics. However, some fans took offense to the fact that 21 Savage would even apologize for lyrics on an album.

Especially considering he never apologized for the bars and bars of pill popping, drug-pushing misogynistic lyrics that he’s built his musical platform on.

This all got kind of messy quickly, which just reflects how touchy everyone has gotten these days. Maybe Bron needs a break. A reset.  He carries an immense burden and responsibility to so many people on and off the court. He took this week to be human. The best thing for him physically and mentally is a couple of days rest and an unplugging of the internet.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.