The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating an incident in which racist graffiti was reportedly spray-painted on a gate outside LeBron James’ home in Los Angeles. The graffiti—which included a racial slur—was discovered early this morning.
James, who is in Oakland for the NBA Finals, discussed the vandalism in a press conference this afternoon, saying that “no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.” He also noted Mamie Till’s decision to have an open casket at her son Emmett’s funeral after the 14-year-old was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. “She wanted to show the world what her son went through,” James said.
LeBron James responds to the vandalism incident at his home pic.twitter.com/goMoicIIit— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 31, 2017
James’ comments, which are worth listening to in full, are transcribed below:
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, and on my behalf and my family’s behalf. I look at it as, if this is to shed a light and continue to keep the conversation going, on my behalf, then I’m OK with it.
My family is safe, at the end of the day they’re 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. And hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day. And even though that it’s concealed most of the time, even though people hide their faces and will say things about you, and when they see you they smile in your face. It’s alive every single day.
I think back to Emmett Till’s mom, actually. It’s kind of one of the first things I thought of. The reason that she had an open casket is because she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as a hate crime and being black in America. 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. We got a long way to go for us as a society, and for us as African Americans, until we feel equal in America.