Hate crime against LeBron shows racism very much alive in today's America

Hate crime against LeBron shows racism very much alive in today's America

OAKLAND -- Racism in America is surging these days and no one is immune to the crimes it breeds, much less the routine social injustice. Its evil hands have touched, in the past five days, public transit in Oregon, a museum in our nation’s capital and the relatively insular world of sports.

Not just sports, but one of its biggest stars.

LeBron James, conceivably the biggest name in American sport, and surely among the wealthiest, is the latest victim of the relatively recent wave of antipathy rooted in race or ethnicity or religion.

He is black, after all, so he is a target.

On Wednesday morning, one day before of Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Warriors, the Cavaliers' superstar and his family were victimized by a gang of crooks vandalizing James’ $20 million home in the Brentwood section of greater Los Angeles.

More than mere vandalism, this is hatred on full display, as those responsible reportedly spray-painted the N-word on the front gate.

The offensive graffiti has been covered, the case is under investigation by local authorities and James is left trying to focus on . . . a basketball game.

“As I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events that we have in sports, race and what's going on comes again and on my behalf and my family's behalf,” James said on Media Day at Oracle Arena, some 350 miles away from LA. “But I look at it as this. I mean, if this -- if this is to shed a light and continue to keep the conversation going on my behalf, then I'm okay with it. My family is safe. At the end of the day, 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. And, you know, hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day. And even though that it's 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 a life every single day.”

The bigotry on display these days is stunning in its visibility. It’s as if someone in an extremely powerful position is granting licenses to hate, and thousands of nut jobs are lining up to get theirs. That it can land, quite literally, at the doorstep of such a famous individual never associated with a crime or anything remotely controversial is testament to the depth of its reach.

If it’s not a wayward cop emptying his weapon on an unarmed black boy, it’s a wayward soul stabbing courageous men who wouldn’t stand for his hatred. If it’s not an ignorant woman in a local store hurling insults at someone for being Hispanic or wearing a Hijab, it’s a sportswriter expressing his discomfort with a Japanese man winning the Indianapolis 500.

Hatred these days does not snooze, and the minute you think there is a protective shield -- wealth, social status, military background -- you are reminded otherwise.

It’s as if we are deliberately erasing gains to go zooming back to the 1950s, to the pre-Civil Rights Era, when it was open season on those who did not fall under the umbrella afforded by white male privilege.

Indeed, James found himself recalling the tragedy of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old black boy murdered in Mississippi, allegedly for whistling at a white woman, a tale long since debunked. Till’s mother decided an open casket was appropriate to expose America to her son’s beaten and mutilated body and face.

“It's kind of one of the first things I thought of, and the reason that she had an open casket is because she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as a hate crime and being black in America,” James said. “So it's like it doesn't -- 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 -- it's tough.

“And we got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African Americans, until we feel equal in America.”

The murder of Till, in 1955, was one of several flashpoints that sparked a political movement toward racial equality in the United States.

More than 60 years later, the flashpoints are back and they are exploding all over the country. They lead to conversation, and more conversation and, occasionally, a concession.

More often than not, though, they do not instigate significant and meaningful change.

“But time heals all,” James said. “And at the end of the day, like I said, if this incident that happened to me and my family today can keep the conversation going and can shed light on us trying to figure out a way to keep progressing and not regressing, then I'm not against it happening to us again. I mean it's as long as my family is safe.”

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.