LeBron James Has A Resilient And Harrowing Response To A Hate Crime Committed At His Home

"You have to always shed light on things that may seem like they're at their darkest point."

Early morning on Wednesday, May 31, an unidentified person spray painted "the N word" on the front gate of LeBron James' home in Brentwood, Calif. By the afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers star publicly responded to the hate crime with a harrowing combination of power and grace. 

"As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events we have, race and what is going on comes again," he said in a press conference. "On my behalf, family's behalf, I look at this as if this sheds a light and keeps the conversation going. My family is safe, that's most important." 

Though James' primary residence is in Akron, Ohio —  where he plays with the Cavaliers — his wife, two sons, and daughter live at their Brentwood home. "My wife, talked to my wife. She's the Energizer Bunny of the family. She said everything is fine," James added. 

Despite the fact that the racial slur has already been painted over, the mental sting endures. Nonetheless, James believes this adversity can serve as a meaningful lesson for his children. "I'm going to give them the blueprint of life, but at the end of the day they're going to have to walk their own course as well," he later said in an interview with ESPN. "I just hope they understand that at the end of the day you have to always shed light on things that may seem like they're at their darkest point."

Though this was an isolated incident, James was quick to recognize it as simply the latest in a long history of bigotry, representing the inescapable trappings of racial prejudice in the United States. "Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America. Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day," he said. "I think back to Emmett Till's mom and the reason she had an open casket, she wanted to show the world what her son went through in terms of a hate crime in America." 

In 1955, Till, a 14-year-old, was brutally beaten and killed by two White men after one man's wife, Carolyn Bryant Donham, testified that he "touched" her. After his death, Till became a symbol of the civil rights movement. Donham later admitted lying in her testimony to Tim Tyson, author of the book, The Blood of Emmett Till

Over 50 years later, James could still see the long distance America has to go on the road to racial equality — and compelled everyone else to see it, too. "No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being Black in America is tough," he said. 

Perhaps, surprisingly, he doesn't regret this negative incident happening to his family. All he regrets is that he cannot be physically with them until next week, after the NBA Finals end. (On Thursday, June 1, he will lead the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first game against the Golden State Warriors.) 

"Time heals all," he concluded. "End of the day, if this incident happened to my family can keep the conversation going, to keep progressing, not regressing, I'm not against it happening to us again." 

Long before this incident, James has shown his tireless commitment to his family and several others through the creation of the LeBron James Family Foundation. Created with the "mission to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives," the nonprofit organization is one of the many ways James believes in finding the light in moments of darkness. 

(H/T: For the Win)


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