Why LeBron James Was Mentioned in Young Thug's RICO Trial

Defense attorney Brian Steel mentioned the NBA star while attempting to prove that the "Slime" handshake did not indicate a gang affiliation.


LeBron James’ name has been dragged into the YSL RICO trial.

YSL cofounder Trontavious “Tick” Stephens returned to the stand on Thursday to answer a series of questions about YSL’s alleged gang activity. Prosecutors argued that Thug and his codefendants had a habit of using hand signs and gestures that were affiliated with criminal organizations.

Defense attorney Brian Steel pushed back on that notion, insisting the motions were part of hip-hop culture, and frequently used by athletes and artists. Steel specifically pointed to the “Slime” handshake, which involves wiping your nose with your index finger.

As pointed out by TMZ, prosecutors believe the handshake—popularized by the YSL crew—is used by a gang member to inform others that they had killed a rival. But Steel contended that the signal has also been used by LeBron when congratulating his teammates.

Not LeBron James a member of young thug YSL gang 🤣🤣🤣🤣😭😭😭 #LeSlime pic.twitter.com/71u78F7kBK

— Shannonnn sharpes Burner (PARODY Account) (@shannonsharpeee) January 11, 2024
Twitter: @shannonsharpeee

“Do you know other artists and actors and professional sports people who show gang signs? Or what you know to be gang signs?” Steel asked Tick, who responded in the affirmative. “You said they do movement with their hands, right? Have you seen sports figures, professional sports figures—basketball, football, baseball—have you seen them go like this, wiping their nose on national TV? … Have you seen LeBron James do a video, put out a video, wiping [his] nose and saying ‘slime’ to his teammate?”

Steel was referring to a clip in which James seemingly does the “Slime” handshake with fellow Lakers athlete Max Christie. Although Tick didn’t reveal if he saw the video in question, he told the court he knew James had different handshakes for each of his teammates. 

“Did one of them include wiping nose and saying ‘slime’?” Steel asked. “It’s OK if you don’t remember, Mr. Stephens.”

After a few seconds of silence, Tick told the court, “Yeah, LeBron may have did that.”

Today in the Young Thug trial:

“Do you know who Serena Williams is?”


“Have you seen her at Wimbledon doing what’s called the Crip Walk. Do you know what Crip Walk is, first of all?”

“Um, I don’t really watch tennis.” pic.twitter.com/hZo9eWfzdl

— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) January 11, 2024
Twitter: @meghanncuniff

Steel also referenced tennis star Serena Williams during his questioning, saying she and other athletes have performed moves that were affiliated with criminal organizations. He pointed out that Williams had done the Crip Walk while celebrating a Wimbledon victory. Although the dance was created by the Crips street gang, Steel said no one would ever accuse Williams of being a gang member or affiliate.

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