But a day earlier, LeBron tackled something much bigger: racism in America.
On Wednesday morning, TMZ reported that a house owned by LeBron in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles had been vandalized, with the n-word spray-painted on the front gate.
Later in the day, James addressed the hate crime in a press conference.
“As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events we have, race and what is going on comes again,” a somber James said. “On my behalf, family’s behalf, I look at this as if this sheds a light and keeps the conversation going. My family is safe, that’s most important.
“Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America. Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day.”
LeBron James responds to racial slur sprayed on front gate of his LA home with strong statement on race issues in America pic.twitter.com/CjUvCXixGB
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 31, 2017
James then evoked the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American teenager who was senselessly lynched in 1955 Mississippi. His killers were acquitted by an all-white jury, then admitted to the killing soon after.
“I think back to Emmett Till’s mom and the reason she had an open casket, she wanted to show the world what her son went through in terms of a hate crime in America,” he continued. “No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being black in America is tough.”
James revealed to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that his family is fine, and that he’s going to use the experience as a lesson for his kids.
“I’m going to give them the blueprint of life, but at the end of the day, they’re going to have to walk their own course, as well,” he said. “I just hope they understand that at the end of the day, you have to always shed light on things that may seem like they’re at their darkest point.”