Speaking out on the evening of the NBA Finals against a racial attack on his Los Angeles home on Wednesday, LeBron James said that he was OK with serving as a conduit for conversation about race relations in America.
“As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events that we have in sports, race and what’s going on (in America) comes again,” said James, preparing to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
Police were called to James’ home after it was discovered that someone had written racial slurs on the gate of the estate early Wednesday morning. The three-time NBA champion normally lives in Akron, Ohio during the NBA season, but public records show he bought the L.A. mansion for $20.9 million in 2015.
“If this is to shed a light and to keep the conversation going on my behalf then I’m OK with it. My family is safe, and that’s the most important thing. It just goes to show racism will always be part of the world, part of America. Hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day. No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how many people admire you, being black in America is tough. We have a long way to go … until we feel equal.”
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 1, 2017
Known for being an advocate for social issues in the past, James wore a T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” after news reports that New Yorker Eric Garner died after a confrontation with a police officer in 2014. He also spoke out against after former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for alleged racist remarks and, most recently, when Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones suffered racial abuse from Boston Red Sox fans during a game at Fenway Park, James jumped to his defense.
“The most unfortunate part is that I’m here right now,” said Jame, 32, a father of three. “I can’t be home to see my boys. I won’t be home until nest week, it is kind of killing me right now. I will be focused tomorrow on my game plan and these games but also know this, I am at a point where my priorities are in place and basketball comes second to my family. Basketball is not the most important thing in my life.”
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