Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said "being black in America is tough" in response to news that Los Angeles police were investigating a racial slur spray-painted on the front gate of one of his homes.
Capt. Patricia Sandoval, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said an unidentified person spray-painted the N-word on the front gate. Police are investigating it as an act of vandalism and a possible hate crime.
James spoke of the incident during NBA Finals media day on Wednesday.
"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."
In 1955, Till, who was 14, was brutally beaten and killed by two white men in Mississippi after the teenager had an encounter with the wife of one of the men. Till's mother wanted the world to see what had happened to her son and held an open casket funeral. Till then became a symbol of the Civil Rights movement.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday before Game 1 of the NBA Finals that he was glad James and his family were safe and that his heart went out to them. He called the incident "a sad state of affairs."
"Your question about the league's role, strong history of speaking out on issues of inequality. LeBron has been incredibly articulate on these issues. I think about this platform we have in sports; this is an opportunity to continue to unify. There is a role we can continue to play in society," Silver said, noting the NBA's diversity. "We are going to re-double our efforts."
The Brentwood home is not James' primary residence. Sandoval told The Associated Press that James wasn't home at the time. She said the property manager told officers it is believed the incident was captured on surveillance video.
Sandoval also said someone painted over the slur before officers arrived early Wednesday morning.
James bought the house in 2015 for roughly $20.9 million. It is 9,440 square feet.
James and the Cavaliers are in the San Francisco Bay Area to take on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
James said he's not his "normal energetic self."
"My wife, talked to my wife. She's the energizer bunny of the family. She said everything is fine," James said. "Time heals all. 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."
James also sees a lesson for his kids in the incident.
"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 told ESPN's Rachel Nichols in a sit-down interview. "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."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.