LeBron James on His House Getting Spray-Painted With N-word: ‘Being Black in America Is Tough’
Racist vandals spray-painted the N-word onto the front gate of a Los Angeles home owned by LeBron James. It is unclear exactly when the incident occurred, but the first reports emerged Wednesday morning (May 31). Due to the nature of the word, police are investigating it as a hate crime.
A subdued James spoke to reporters ahead of tonight's Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which is in Oakland. He discussed the incident and its larger implications:
Here are James' extended remarks:
My family is safe. At the end of the day they’re safe and that’s what’s the most important. But it just goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America. Hate, in America, especially for African-Americans is living every day. And even though it's concealed most of the time, people hide their faces, will say things about you — when they see you, they smile in your face. It's alive every single day....
No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is — it's tough. And we got a long way to go, for us as a society, and for us as African-Americans, until we feel equal in America.
The 32-year-old mentioned that he was reminded of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Till's mother chose to have an open casket at his funeral because, as James noted, "she wanted to show the world what her son went through, as far as a hate crime and, you know, being black in America."
James and his family were not at the house at the time (presumably they were in Oakland), and they do not spend a great deal of time there either. He bought the property in 2015 for $20 million in the upscale Brentwood neighborhood.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals between James' Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors tips off 9 p.m. ET on ABC.