"Being black in America is tough": LeBron James reacts to racial slur sprayed on his gate

"Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world," he told reporters

LeBron James

Image: USA TODAY Sports/SIPA USA/PA Images

LeBron James says "being black in America is tough" and that racism is a persistent issue in US life, after a racial slur was sprayed on to the gate of his L.A home.

Speaking on the eve of the NBA Finals, the three-time champion said he hoped that the incident would continue to shed light on racism in America.

"As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events we have, race and what is going on comes again," he 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.

"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. No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being black in America is tough."

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black teenager who was killed after being brutally beaten by two white men in Mississippi in 1955.

Till's mother insisted on having an open casket funeral so the world could see what was done to her son.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James addresses the media in a press conference during the NBA Finals media day at Oracle Arena. Image: USA TODAY Sports/SIPA USA/PA Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in the early hours of Friday morning Irish time.

Looking ahead to the game, he said: "At the end of the day, I'll be focused tomorrow on our game plan and focused on these games. But I also know, I mean, I'm at a point in my life where my priorities is in place and 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. This is a situation where it just puts me back in place of what's actually more important, and basketball's not the most important thing in my life."