LeBron James realizes that racism exists, but unlike many Black athletes, he says he hasn’t experienced it while playing in Boston — at least not to his knowledge.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star was asked about his thoughts on a Monday, May 1, incident where fans hurled racial slurs and peanuts at Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.
James admitted he wasn’t familiar with the whole story but said, “It’s a delicate situation.”
“Racism, we know, exists,” he says at a postgame news conference following the Cavs’ 125-103 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday, May 3. “You try not to put yourself in a position … and for me, as a father, I try to just give my kids the blueprint on how life is gonna be. But, at the end of the day, I can only tell them so much and then they have to go out and live it their selves.
“I just try to be respectful, for one. Be respectful to others and I feel like if you do that consistently, then I believe that karma will come back to you,” he says.
James noted he didn’t know who was responsible for the racism directed toward Jones, which the Orioles player said included being called the n-word “a handful of times.”
“I’ve heard a couple athletes say you expect that when you go to Boston,” he says. “For me, I’ve been to Boston and played in Boston a lot. I just try to have tunnel vision when I play. I can’t recall ever hearing something that was racism toward me. But I think it was great that the other guys spoke up for him, not even on his own team. I think the guys from the Red Sox spoke up for [Jones], saying like, ‘Hey fans, this is a situation where you guys need to have a standing ovation.’ … It’s not great for sports. It’s not great for society.”
James added that continuing the larger conversation about racism, which he believes will “be a part of time forever,” will help make a change.