LeBron’s focus shifted from Finals to racism after vandalism

The Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — A day before the start of his seventh straight NBA Finals, LeBron James’ mind was far from focused on basketball and the Golden State Warriors.

He wanted to hug his children and wife back home in Ohio and talk to his two boys directly about racism after a racial slur was spray painted on the front gate to his house in Los Angeles.

LA police were investigating Wednesday as James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers prepared for Thursday night’s Game 1 at Golden State. Almost a year after James sat in this very place at Oracle Arena addressing the influence of Muhammad Ali following the heavyweight champion’s death, James discussed the daily challenges of being black in the U.S.

The front gate of a home belonging to Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James is freshly repainted Wednesday, May 31, 201, in Los Angeles. Police are investigating after someone spray painted a racial slur on the front gate of James’ home in Los Angeles on the eve of the NBA Finals. 

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

“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,” said James, who was visibly shaken. “We have a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America.”

An unidentified person spray painted the N-word on the front gate of James’ home in the Brentwood neighborhood Wednesday morning, said Capt. Patricia Sandoval, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department. Neither James nor his family was at the home at the time.

The property manager told officers that it is believed the incident was captured on surveillance video, Sandoval said. Police are investigating it as an act of vandalism and a possible hate crime. Someone painted over the slur before officers arrived to investigate, Sandoval said.

“As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events that we have in sports, you know, race and what’s going on comes again, and on my behalf and my family’s behalf. But I mean I look at it as, if this is to shed a light and continuing to keep the conversation going on my behalf then I’m OK with it,” James said. “My family is safe, they’re safe and that’s the most important. But it just goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America. You know hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day.”

It was difficult for James to think that he won’t be home with his family until next week and he said he would settle instead for a FaceTime call, saying, “It’s kind of killing me right now.” He gave shout outs to his support system for handling some tough conversations to come once his two sons were home from school.

Getting ready for Game 1 had already become a more daunting task with what happened.

“I’m at a point in my life where my priorities are in place,” James said. “Basketball comes second to my family. 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 puts me back in place of what’s actually more important. And basketball is not the most important thing in my life.”

James bought the house in 2015 for more than $20 million. The 9,440-square-foot home is not James’ primary residence. He lives in Bath, Ohio.

In 2015, James and his production company signed a developmental deal with Warner Bros. worth $15 million, an agreement that has him spending more time in Southern California. James spent several weeks in Los Angeles last summer working with his production company.””

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James readies to shoot during an NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Oakland. 

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

McNeese Sports

Schroyer named to national committees

Local News

17 state AGs sue Biden administration for allowing foreign farmworkers to unionize

Local News

Rounds of storms possible as tropical disturbance expected to move into Gulf

Local News

La. Supreme Court reverses ‘lookback window’ decision

life

Alligator Park closed due to high water

Business

Preserving the past: Ryan Street historic district could become reality

life

Juneteenth Freedom Festival: Family fun, fireworks, food and more in lineup for area’s 4-day celebration

Local News

Jennings City Council considering whether to increase salaries for mayor, council members

Local News

Contentious Iowa Council meeting ends with abrupt adjournment

life

Feel the Wheels at the Moss Bluff Library

Local News

NBA great Jerry West dies at 86

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Pet projects have long lives

Crime

Local man pleads guilty to 10 counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile

Local News

Student-run coffee company opens after a ‘latte’ collaboration

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Coushatta Pow Wow

Local News

I-10 bridge eastbound lane closed for emergency repairs

Crime

Attorney general: Speed enforcement cameras in Oberlin OK

Crime

BREAKING: Hunter Biden convicted on all 3 felony counts

Local News

Homeward-bound athletes: Return to resume college careers with fresh start

Local News

UN Security Council adopts motion urging Hamas to accept Israeli hostage-truce offer

Local News

Unrestrained driver killed in crash with semi-truck

Crime

Prosecutor says ‘no one is above the law’ as he urges jurors to convict Hunter Biden in gun case

Local News

Credit card delinquencies are rising. Here’s what to do if you’re at risk

Local News

Texas county removed 17 books from its libraries. An appeals court says eight must be returned.