LeBron James’s Jewish Connection

By Lana Gersten

Published April 08, 2009, issue of April 17, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Typically, Jews and professional basketball don’t mix — not unless you’re talking about the early days of the game, when Jews were a dominating force. But one of basketball’s present-day greats, Cleveland Cavalier forward LeBron James, is merging the two in an unexpected way.

Slam Dunk: LeBron James, center, suggested a Jewish philanthropist for the ‘Time 100.’
GETTY IMAGES
Slam Dunk: LeBron James, center, suggested a Jewish philanthropist for the ‘Time 100.’

When James was recently asked whom he would name as one of Time magazine’s “Time 100” — the publication’s list of the world’s most influential people — the superstar, who is a past Time 100 honoree, chose Jay Schottenstein, an Ohio businessman and philanthropist who funded ArtScroll’s translation of the Talmud into English, Hebrew and French.

No word on the connection between the two. Time made little mention of Schottenstein’s business and philanthropic endeavors, which include a family contribution of $12.5 million for the construction of a sports complex at Ohio State University (James is not an alumnus). Instead, the magazine stressed Schottenstein’s work with Talmudic translations, writing, “The Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud is now utilized by more than 2 million people worldwide.”

The Shmooze was unable to reach James for comment, and a rep for Schottenstein responded via e-mail, simply stating that James and Schottenstein have “mutual respect for each other” and that James was “impressed with the community involvement shown by Jay, including the elucidation and translation of the 73 volume Talmud Bavli.”

Perhaps James is contemplating the benefits of becoming a member of the tribe? Our guess: not likely. Maybe it’s just plain old Ohio pride.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.