Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said racism will always be a part of America after his Los Angeles home was sprayed with racist graffiti ahead of the first game of the NBA championship.
"As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events we have, race and what is going on comes again," James said late Wednesday at a media day.
"Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America," he said. "Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day."
The incident came on the eve of Game One of the NBA Finals, which pits James's reigning champions Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors.
Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Aareon Jefferson said the offensive graffiti was painted on an outer gate of the $20 million home James purchased in 2015 in the city's upscale Brentwood neighborhood.
"Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day," added James, who said that when he was told of the incident, he thought of the mother of Emmett Till, a black American who was lynched in 1955 at the age of 14. Till's mother insisted her son's casket be left open at his funeral so the brutality of his death could be seen. James said he hoped Wednesday's incident "can keep the conversation going and can shed light on us trying to figure out a way to keep progressing and not regressing."
Hate crimes and racism has been on the rise in the U.S. Unease about white supremacist activity in Portland deepened after the fatal stabbings of two men who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade, and some people worry that the famously tolerant community could see a resurgence of the hostilities that once earned it the nickname "Skinhead City." The attack aboard a light-rail train happened Friday, the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report recently which finds increasing trends towards violence. "In 2016, CAIR recorded a 57 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents over 2015. This was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the same period. From 2014 to 2016, anti-Muslim bias incidents jumped 65 percent. In that two-year period, CAIR finds that hate crimes targeting Muslims surged 584 percent." The findings include perceived harassments, bias incidents, "denial of religious accommodation, employment, name calling, "hate crimes," as well as other acts. California University researchers, for example, released a similar report in which they found 196 incidents of hate crimes or discrimination against Muslims in 2015, a 78 percent increase from 2014. FBI data showed 257 anti-Muslim related hate crimes in 2015, a 67 percent rise from 2014.