On Monday (May 29), the 4-time NBA champion took to his Instagram Stories to upload a throwback picture of himself either taking a breather or at the free throw line while at St. Vincent–St. Mary High School. He then stitched lyrics from Hova’s 2003 reflective track, “What More Can I Say,” off of The Black Album.
“I’m supposed to be number one on everybody list, We’ll see what happens when I no longer exist,” JAY-Z raps over the sample heavy track. LeBron’s notion of wanting to be number one stems from the decade-long debate between who’s the greatest player of all-time between himself and Michael Jordan.
Back in 2003, JAY-Z decided to release The Black Album and retire at the top of the rap game, only to come back with 2006’s Kingdom Come.
LeBron on IG: pic.twitter.com/3qewpmI6Xl
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 29, 2023
LeBron James puzzling message comes after his Lakers were swept 4-0 in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets earlier this month. At the concluding press conference of the series, LeBron dropped the bombshell of him considering retiring from the NBA after 20 seasons after being questioned by a reporter.
“We’ll see what happens going forward,” he said according to Bleacher Report. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. … Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball.”
This isn’t the first time LeBron James utilized bars from his fellow peer and trusted confidant to send subliminal messages.
Back in April, LeBron posted lyrics from JAY-Z’s song “Trouble” from his 2006 comeback album Kingdom Come after his Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies and eliminated them from the NBA Playoffs.
“Unlike you, lil’ n-gga, I’m a grown-ass man/ Big shoes to fill, n-gga, grown-ass pants/ Probably hustled with your pops, go ask your parents /It’s apparent you’re staring at a legend who/ Put a few lil’ n-ggas in their place before/ Tryna eat without saying their grace before,” Hov raps over the Dr. Dre production.
At the time, JAY-Z was coming out of retirement after previously releasing his “last album” The Black Album in 2003. He was in his mid-30s and had to remind the rap game that he still had it. The same could be said for LeBron James after Dillion Brooks of the Memphis Grizzlies previously called LeBron “old” and wished he played against a younger version of the legendary player.
LeBron James previously received his flowers from JAY-Z in a video tribute that aired ahead of the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. After passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the league’s all-time scorer earlier that month, Hov recognized his high level of performance over the course of his 20-year career.