LeBron James’ Los Angeles home was vandalized with a racial slur on Wednesday morning, an incident that the LAPD is investigating as a hate crime.
On the eve of the NBA Finals, James spoke about the incident during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. He stressed that “racism will always be a part of the world and of America” and how Americans still have a long way to go.
The basketball star also made reference to the murder of Emmett Till ― a 14-year-old boy who was brutally killed in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman. He said the vandalism on his home immediately made him think of Till’s mother’s decision to hold an open-casket funeral so that everyone in the world could see what racist ideals had done to her son.
James stressed the importance of talking about race relations, finding a shred of hope in the incident for its ability to shed light on what it means to be black in America and “continue to keep the conversation going.”
The latter sentiment likely sounds familiar because James spoke out about racism just a few weeks ago when Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was the target of racial slurs.
“Racism is gonna be a part of time forever, I believe, but I think for us, the people that have the opportunities to have a voice and people that have an opportunity to have some play on the youth that’s coming up, we have to lead them the best way we can, and we have to live with the results...” James said in response to what happened to Jones. “It’s a real, real longer conversation, but if we can keep the conversation going, I think it helps.”
After hearing what happened to James’ home, Jones returned the favor in speaking out and tweeted out this show of support:
“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,” James said during the conference. “We got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America.”
James will play in his third consecutive NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors starting Thursday.