“If this is to shed a light and keep the conversation going on my behalf, then I’m OK with it,” James said during NBA Finals Media Day in regard to the attack and racial issues in America. “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.”
In 2010 when James made the decision to leave the Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat, Cleveland team owner Dan Gilbert, who is White, wrote an open letter to Cavaliers fans, which was full of disdain.
“This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up,” Gilbert said in the letter in regard to the method of James’ announcement on ESPN. “You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal. You have given so much and deserve so much more … ‘I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE. You can take it to the bank.”
Since James’ return to the team in 2014, it’s still been unclear whether he and Gilbert are on good terms, but James also brought up people who secretly show signs of prejudice and racism.
“Even though it’s [racism] 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,” he said.
James referenced Emmitt Till mother’s decision to have an open casket funeral for the public to see the pain her son endured during a fatal hate crime attack. He finished his statement by clarifying that his family is safe and summed up the reasoning behind the attack in one sentence.
“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,” he said.