October 20th, 2010
06:23 PM ET

LeBron James reveals racially charged tweet

Weeks after he said he thinks race plays a role in some of the criticism he faces, NBA star LeBron James retweeted a racially charged Twitter message that someone sent him.

The message was one of three critical tweets that the Miami Heat player retweeted Tuesday for the public to see.

"U r a big nosed big lipped bug eyed n*****. ur greedy, u try to hide ur ghettoness," the message read. The apparent sender’s Twitter account no longer exists.

ESPN.com reported that after the Heat's practice Wednesday in Miami, James said he just wanted people "to see what type of words that are said toward me and towards us as professional athletes."

"Everybody thinks it is a bed of roses and it’s not," James said, according to ESPN.com.

Accompanying the retweets was a tweet from James himself: "U see world how people feel! Just use it as extra motivation in whatever u do best! No one can stop your dreams from becoming reality!"

In an interview earlier this year, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien asked James whether race played a role in a backlash over “The Decision,” an hourlong July special on ESPN in which he announced he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.

"I think so, at times," James responded. "[There's] always a race factor."

Many columnists, bloggers and fans had criticized the Akron, Ohio, native over the way he handled his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers, James’ team for the first seven years of his NBA career. Some bemoaned what they said was his lack of loyalty to his hometown, and others said that although they felt James could go where he wanted, the manner in which he announced the move was too egotistical and an embarrassment to Cleveland.

Some commentators later criticized James over his answer to O'Brien's race question.

"With his self-aggrandizing, narcissistic one-hour TV exit - 'The Decision' - LeBron James ruined his public image, not racism," FoxSports' Jason Whitlock wrote in early October.

ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wrote, however, that James "didn't claim to be a victim of racial persecution" and just noted what is "a simple, fundamental truth in our society and, in particular, the NBA.”

"As long as the NBA features predominantly black athletes playing for predominantly white owners who are selling their sport to predominantly white ticket buyers, there will be a race factor. It's an ongoing quandary, usually left unsaid,"  Adande wrote.

The two other two critical tweets that James made public Tuesday did not have any racial slurs. One said: "hey good game last night, too bad you're a fraud, BITCH." The other said: "no one wants to hear u speak. Why dont u speak by laying ur head under a moving car."

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Filed under: LeBron James • Sports
soundoff (350 Responses)
  1. Jangocat

    Of poor little LeBron welcome to the internet buddy, what a phony. Very often on trending topics there will be racially charged subjects and the majority of the posters are black people. This happens a LOT, don't take my word for it monitor twitter for awhile and see for yourself.

    October 21, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Troy

    Respect his business decision (white) folks!..And Get over it!

    October 21, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. AJ

    And this whole situation is exactly why I do not bother with the NBA.

    October 21, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan Halen

    Anyone who is in the public eye and would open themselves up to receive such messages from any Tom, Dick or Harry can expect to get hateful remarks. It's the same as if he had posted his home telephone number. No high profile person would do that, so he shouldn't have his twitter account set to receive such messages. It sounds to me he is using this for a pity party. Maybe his publicist should explain to him how to protect himself as a high profile individual so he doesn't have to see those comments.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. scott d

    respect his money decision (black) folk... at least he is working for his money, unlike 90% of the black folk in my city who take my tax money and turn it into free food for their 6 kids and the $50 rent they pay for brand new houses. BLACK people(not african american...not many of you actually came from africa, my white south african friend who is now a citizen, HE is african american!) are the biggest racists of them all, and use slavery as an excuse... jews aren't still using their much worse genocide as an excuse..maybe it's time to suck it up and live like the rest of us human beings

    October 21, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. kohethanolic

    Don't talk. Don't be stupid. Just play brilliant. Critics are opportunistic, they never shut up.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. binns

    he raised over 3 million during that one hour show for the boys and girls club, he should have made it longer. people are all upset with what he did, well since it was on espn you had cable and had hundreds of other channels. i think his marketing team did a wonderful job since the saw an opportunity to give back. if he had a chance to do it again i hope he would do it in a second

    October 21, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Cindy :(

      3 million – he could have handed that over and saved a lot of grief for himself and not embarrass the fans that adored him.

      October 21, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cindy :(

    I am a Cleveland fan and will be for the rest of my life. It has never been about race for me. I will not speak for others. But James embarrassed Cleveland fans, that is a fair statement. Black, white, or brown, I don't care – Lebron, you hurt my feelings and I had tears in my eyes when you said South Beach. No, it wasn't the same as when I was at the last home game for the Browns, standing at my seat for 10 years prior, knowing that Art Modell is taking my team away. I was very bitter when Modell did that. I am still hurt by the way Lebron made his announcment, there are those who may think it's stupid to feel that way, but to each his own. If Kobe did it to the Lakers, or let's take it back some years, what about Bird to the Celtics, Jordan to the Bulls, Jeter to the Yankees, the list goes on. I guess the only difference is that they all have rings. Chasing your dream is one thing, hurting the people that helped you get there is another.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kool

    Can we ship these guys back to where they came from (Africa?). It would solve a lot of problems.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • ldean

      Unless you are an American Indian, I wouldn't be too anxious to be preaching about sending people back to where they came from . . . silly goose.

      October 21, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. ldean

    I think this released to the public tweet was more likely written by a black person . . . the statement, "ur greedy, u try to hide ur ghettoness," . . . speaks more of jealousy, or someone from the "ghetto" who resents his success, or resents the fact that he appears to "have forgotten where he came from."

    October 21, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    Was the twitter poster white or african american? My point being, I thought it was only considered racist if a white person said the "N" word.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. obsthetimes

    It comes with the celebrity territory to deal with the occasional hate tweet. I mean if a few people out of Ohio's 12 million people sent a stupid tweet. That actually shows how nice Ohio is and that is how LeBron should take this.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. thnkwoman

    I believe he released the tweets to show everyone that he was justified in feeling the way he does. He got a lot of flak for complaining. Most people don't have alot of sympathy for rich people.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. SON OF A MILLIONAIRE

    To Labron, I would say what any concerned father would say to his son after a long day of working hard and putting forth his best efforts only for them to be considered " not good enough" God did not make any mistakes so,you are yet another example of a blessed child, "who's got it's own" Success is the best revenge, so rather than joining them, lead them to the promised land. Keep ballin out of control and Against the wind ! Don't stop, "lettin it do what it do" because the Heat is on and we are amazed !

    October 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. John C

    Wahyyyy Poor leBraun did people call you bad names? You poor little baby. This is just more chining and crying from this clasless loser. Take your millions and shut up.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
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