Fact check: LeBron James quote on white people taken out of context

Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook claim that NBA superstar LeBron James said he wanted “nothing to do with white people.” While James did say this, the quote has been taken out of context, with the post calling him a racist and a proponent of “white hate”.

FILE PHOTO: Basketball player LeBron James arrives on the red carpet for the film "The Carter Effect" at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), in Toronto, Canada, September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

Examples of such posts can be found here , here  and here .  

The statements paraphrased by these posts come from the pilot episode of James’s HBO series “The Shop,” which premiered on August 28, 2018 (  here  ). During the episode, businessman Maverick Carter, asked James about entering a mostly white environment when he started high school.  

James said, “I went to an all-white high school, Catholic high school, so when I first went to the ninth grade in the high school, I was all of a sudden like ‘I’m not f***ing with white people’. My whole, I was so institutionalized, growing up in the hood, it’s like ‘they don’t f*** with us, they don’t want us to succeed’ […] So, I’m like, ‘I’m going to this school to play ball, and that’s it. I don’t want nothing to do with white people, I don’t believe that they want anything to do with my—it’s me and my boys, we going to high school together and we here to hoop.’ So that was like my initial thoughts and my initial shock to, like, white America when I was 14 years old, for the first time in my life.” (Snipped visible  here  ).   

James was referring to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, which he attended between 1999 and 2003 (  here , here  ).  

As a teenager, James and his three teammates, Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, and Willie McGee, attended the predominantly white St. Vincent-St. Mary, largely because Joyce was unlikely to make the varsity basketball team at Buchtel High, a predominantly Black public school in the area (here). Along with Romeo Travis, the group became known as the “Fab Five” as members of the St. Vincent-St. Mary’s team that won the Ohio state championship in 2003 (here).  


Partly false. This quote from LeBron James has been taken out of context.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here  .