OAKLAND (CBS SF) — On the eve of Game One of the NBA Finals Wednesday, Cleveland Cavaliers star Lebron James found himself not talking about the Golden State Warriors during media day but instead addressing an incident where someone spray painted a racial slur on the front gate of his Los Angeles suburban Brentwood home.
Los Angeles Police Spokeswoman Capt. Patricia Sandoval said the property manager told officers they believe the incident was captured on surveillance video.
Sandoval said an unidentified person sprayed painted the N-word on the front gate. Police are investigating it as an act of vandalism and possible hate crime.
When it was James turn to take the podium on Finals media day in Oakland, the first question he was asked was about the incident.
The NBA superstar told reporters that “racism will always be a part of the world.”
“As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events that we have, race and what’s going on comes again on my behalf and my family’s behalf,” he said. “But I look at it as if this sheds light and continues to keep the conversation on my behalf. Then I’m okay with it. My family is safe. At the end of the day they are safe and that’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 American especially for African Americans is living every day. Even though that it is concealed most of the time, even though people hide their faces and will say things about you…They see you, they smile at your face. It’s alive every single day.”
LeBron James’ extended comments on racist graffiti:
James said one of the first thoughts was about Emmett Till and his family. Till was raised in Chicago but was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14. When his body was returned to Chicago for burial, his family insisted on an open casket to make a statement about racism in America
“I think back to Emmett Till’s mom actually it’s one of the first things I thought of,” he told reporters “The reason she had an open casket is becuase she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as a hate crime and being black in America.”
James was asked how his family is handling the situation.
“The most unfortunate part is I’m here and can’t be at home to see my boys right now,” he said. “My little girl is too young to actually understand it right now. I can’t sit in front of my boys and I won’t be home until next week so this is kind of killing me inside. But my wife is unbelievable. My mother, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law they are going to do a great job talking to them when they get home from school today. Because of Apple being so great I can FaceTime them. But I like doing a face-to-face conversation when it comes to something like this.”
“Having two sons that have great minds, that are very open to life. For me to give them a blueprint as much as I can on what life has to offer (is important) but at the end of the day they are going to have to walk their own path.”