Speaking at a news conference in the Bay Area, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James addressed the racial slur discovered hours earlier tagged on the front gate of his Los Angeles home.
“My family is safe and that’s the most important thing,” the NBA player began, adding he was saddened to be sitting there discussing racial discrimination a day before his team is set to play the Golden State Warriors in the first game of the NBA Finals.
“It just goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America, and you know, hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day,” James added. “Even though it’s concealed most of the time, even though people will hide their faces and will say things about you, but when they see you they’ll smile in your face. It’s alive every single day.”
Although he told reporters "being black in America is tough" no matter how famous you are or how many admire you, he also pointed if the hateful incident kept the much-needed conversation about racial problems in the United States going, he was “OK with that.”
LeBron James has made a name for himself as a legendary basketball player, and he's also used his platform to speak openly about racism in America.
When Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was the target of racial slurs and racist behavior during a game a few weeks back, James gave a nuanced response that was personal, sincere, and unifying. However, on Wednesday morning, James' West Los Angeles home was hit with racist graffiti.
According to police, at 6:44 a.m. the n-word was painted across the gate of James' estate. The basketball player was in Oakland, California, preparing for the NBA Finals when the vandalism took place, and Rolling Stone reports that the racist message has been covered by property management.
The Los Angeles Police Department is reportedly investigating the incident as a hate crime and currently digging through security footage in an attempt to identify the vandal.
"We know racism is still alive and the only thing I can do as a role model, I feel like I'm a leader in society, is to my kids and teach the people that follow me what the right way is," he explained.
Just as we need good role models, we also need individuals to be held publicly accountable for racism. Hopefully, if those responsible for the racist graffiti on James' home are caught, they can serve as an example of what kind of human not to be.