LeBron James is dealing with a distraction one day before the beginning of the NBA finals.
TMZ reported Wednesday that a home in Los Angeles owned by the Cleveland Cavaliers star was vandalized with a racial epithet.
An unnamed source told NBC News that the “n-word” was spray-painted on a front gate on the property.
The graffiti has since been painted over.
Investigators might check surveillance video in the area to help identify the culprit or culprits, NBC News reported.
James was not at the 9,440-square-foot home at the time of the incident, according to TMZ.
ESPN reported that the 32-year-old athlete responded to the incident at a news conference ahead of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.
“My family’s safe and at the end of the day that’s what’s most important,” he said. “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. Even though 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,” James continued. “It's 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.”
Till, a black teenager, was lynched by two white men in Mississippi in 1955 when he was 14 years old. His mother, Mamie Till, insisted on a public, open-casket funeral to show the brutality of her son’s murder.
“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 -- it's tough. We've got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African Americans until we feel equal in America.”
James, who also maintains a home in northeast Ohio, and the rest of the Cavaliers are set to face the Golden State Warriors in a rematch of the last two NBA finals.
Game 1 is Thursday night.
Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.