CLEVELAND -- Early Wednesday morning, a West Los Angeles home owned by Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James was vandalized and a racial slur was spray-painted onto a front gate of the Brentwood home.
Los Angeles police were on the scene to investigate the incident as a hate crime, and property management has since covered up the slur.
“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,” James said prior to Wednesday’s practice at NBA Finals Media Day at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
“My family is safe. At the end of the day, they’re safe and that’s most important, 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 African-Americans, is living every day.”
While preparing for the Golden State Warriors in The Finals, James lamented the fact that he was across the country and away from his family during the time of the incident, and instead, must lean on a support system to explain to his sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce, the situation that happened in Los Angeles.
“Having two sons, two sons that have great minds, they’re very open to life and love life,” James said. “(It’s) for me to just be able to give them the blueprint as much as I can on what life has to offer, but at the end of the day, they’re going to have to walk their own path. Hopefully, I give them enough life skills throughout their journey when they’re ready to fly, they can fly on their own.”
Although James is thankful for the safety of his family, he feels there is a long way to go in terms of equality for everyone in society.
“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America, it’s tough and we’ve got a long way to go for us as a society and us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America,” James said.
For the seventh straight season, and fourth time with the Cavaliers, James has led a team to the NBA Finals.
By winning the Eastern Conference Championship with a 135-102 Game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden last Thursday night, the Cavaliers earned the right to face the Warriors for the NBA title for the third straight season.
The rubber match between the Cavaliers and Warriors marks the first time in NBA history that the same two teams will play each other in three consecutive Finals series.
“At the end of the day, I’ll be focused tomorrow on our gameplan and focused on these games, but I’m at a point in my life where my priorities are in a different place and basketball comes second to my family,” James said. “It actually comes after me continuing to be a role model to the youth and what I do as far as with my foundation.
“I will be as focused as I can be on the job at hand tomorrow, but this is a situation where it just puts me back in place to what’s more important, and basketball’s not the most important thing in my life.”