Before the hate crime targeting LeBron James occurred, two Portland men sacrificed their lives coming to the defense of two women being subjected to ethnic slurs from a homegrown domestic terrorist.
Visibly shaken by an event he couldn't control, Cleveland's star struggled Wednesday to focus on his seventh-straight National Basketball Association finals or the Golden State Warriors. The targeting of perhaps the world's best known athlete with racial slurs that included the n-word, turned the NBA Finals media day into a seminar on the contours of racial oppression in America.
"No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, you know being black in America is tough", James said. "We've got a long way to go, for us as a society and for us as African Americans, until we feel equal in America".
If you somehow missed the news, late Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning) someone made a decision to spray paint the word "n*gger" on the front gate of LeBron's Brentwood home in Los Angeles.
Getting ready for Game 1 had already become a more daunting task with what happened.
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There's a narrative around James ever since his first finals in a Heat jersey against the Dallas Mavericks that he isn't clutch and collapses under pressure. At the end of the day they're safe and that's what's the most important.
Although he registered 28 points and 15 rebounds, James struggled in Game 1, turning the ball over eight times, and Cleveland's defense failed to slow the Warriors.
The 32-year-old stressed his family is at the front of his mind.
"Tonight we're honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT", James said. It's no such thing as having a dialogue when the discussion has been long going without much action.
But for LeBron James to talk about it in the manner in which he did - and to use the late Emmett Till as part of his teaching moment - is more than special. "But I mean I look at it as, if this is to shed a light and continuing to keep the conversation going on my behalf then I'm OK with it", James said.
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That will make it harder to combat, but you still have to continue to push back against it.
In the first quarter, the songstress, 29, caught the eye of ESPN/ABC commentator Jeff Van Gundy, who couldn't contain his excitement: "I don't about this, but Rihanna just walked in front of me".
The vandalism would be investigated as a hate crime, and security-camera footage from nearby homes would be examined to identify suspects, the police added.
James wasn't at the home at the time, but the property manager told officers that they believe the incident was captured on surveillance video, Sandoval said.
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But prosecutor Teresa Drenick said Monday the fire had destroyed so much of the warehouse that a cause will likely never be known. And that everything that I did was to make this a stronger and more handsome community, and to bring people together.
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