Wednesday morning, the eve of the first game of the NBA finals, Lebron James’ West Los Angeles home was vandalized. Painted on the gate of the Brentwood neighborhood estate was a racial slur, in graffiti. However, police did not specify what the slur was (it was later revealed to be the "N-Word". Los Angeles Police Department officer, Aareon Jefferson reported that police received a call that morning, reporting the incident, but by the time officers had arrived the racial slur was painted over by James’ management. LAPD officer Norma Eisenman confirmed James was not present when the vandalism occurred. LAPD will continue to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
NBA star Lebron James spoke out about the racist incident in a press conference at the opening of the NBA Finals, the next day. During the conference, James expressed his gratefulness for the safety of his family by saying, "My family is safe and that's what's important." In the age of Trump, athletes have been more vocal about social injustices. This being said, James is not new to voicing his concerns about the evident disparities in America. James went on to say in his statement, “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 an African-American, is living every day. Even though it's concealed most of the time -- people will hide their faces and will say things about you and then when they see you they smile in your face -- it's alive every single day.”
James then noted the decision of Emmitt Till’s mother in the infamous hate crime of her son in 1955, “And I think back to Emmitt Till's mom, actually. It's kind of one of the first things I thought of. And the reason that she had an open casket is because she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as the hate crime, and being black in America.” James ended with a powerful statement, hoping to keep the conversation about racism alive, “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 tough. And we've got a long way to go for us as a society, and for us as African-Americans, until we feel equal in America.”
Rich Paul, Lebron James’ agent, declined to comment on the vandalism. Police are still investigating the security footage, in hopes of finding the offender. In spite of the terrible incident, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals, which began in Game 1, Thursday night in Cleveland.
Check out the full Press Conference here: