Racism Hits Home
LeBron James owns a very nice house in Los Angeles. It’s not his primary residence. He and his family live in Bath, Ohio.
And that’s where his family was when their $20 million residence in Los Angeles was vandalized, a racial slur painted on the front gate.
On the eve of the NBA Finals – the seventh straight for James and third in a row for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors – basketball was not the first thing on the mind of LeBron James. Racism, bigotry, violence against minorities – that’s where LeBron was.
“As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events that we have in sports, you know, race and what’s going on comes again, and on my behalf and my family’s behalf. But I mean I look at it as, if this is to shed a light and continuing to keep the conversation going on my behalf then I’m OK with it,” James said at a news conference in Oakland. “My family is safe, 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. You know hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day.”
It’s never out of sight, never out of mind and seemingly has grown worse and coarser over the last year. Draw your own conclusions as to what has made it more acceptable for the small-minded to act on their worst impulses. Hate crime vandalism was what the police called it.
As big as LeBron James is, he seemed even bigger on Wednesday night as he spoke about hatred.
“I think back to Emmett Till’s mom, actually,” James said of the African-American teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. “One of the things I thought of, one of the reasons she had an open casket, was because she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as a hate crime, 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,” he said. “We got a long way to go, for us as a society, and for us as African-Americans, until we feel equal in America.”
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman