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On the eve of game one of the NBA Finals, when his Cleveland Cavaliers will face off against the Golden State Warriors to complete a historic sports trilogy, LeBron James was forced to confront race in America. Reports emerged in the afternoon that his Los Angeles home had been vandalized as a racial slur appeared on his front gate, etched in graffiti. This evening, at his pregame press conference, he confronted the incident in front of the cameras.

“Racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America,” James said. “Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day.”

He referenced Emmett Till, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 for whistling at a white woman, and added: “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. And 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.”


Not for the first time, the future Hall of Famer spoke with grace about issues well beyond the basketball floor.