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. Logicalfan

    You the man James! Recognize a troll when you see it and brush it off. Keep doing your thing and I can't wait to make the roadtrip to come see you play in Miami! Who wouldn't give up Ohio for freak'n Miami...crazy loons.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Eli

    Do we know exactly what race the person was that sent the tweets? We do not so that means it could just be someone wanting to stir up trouble

    October 21, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. No Surprise

    Really LeBron? You have now found another reason to get 5 more minutes of spotlight...

    October 21, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill Skadder

    At one time I did in fact embrace James, as a gifted athelete and gave him a little wiggle room, being young, nieve? But the fact is; James thinks he's now above other's. He fell into the egotistical trappings that fame and money give a person. And I am sick and tired of hearing the "RACE" ticket by everyone, including the sports media. It's like a safety valve, crutch, excuse, backdoor. When all else fails use the RACE ticket. Don't try and stand on your own, don't be accountable for who you are. When things aren't going so very good for me I wish I could fall back on the "WHITE" ticket. A message to James, your not sitting in a corner of some labratory finding a cure for cancer, your not in uniform in a combat zone putting your life on the line, you play a "GAME" called basketball for a living, and get paid a huge amount of money for a natural talent you were born with. Get your head out from the clouds, you still wipe your own a

    October 21, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Thomas

    Race issue? Really? Cleveland LOVED you when you were there but when you left they hated you because you were black? That makes sense.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. kkk

    Just thug ball! Who cares!

    October 21, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Milky

    Ok wipe your tears with your millions of dollars and move on. play basketball.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    If not "The Decision", there would have been another 1-hour special on ESPN where James' decision would've been aired, discussed, disected and criticized anyway. The only difference here is that LBJ decided to cash in on those ratings personally, and make sure that the revenue generated went towards the B&G Club. Otherwise, the money would have gone straight to ESPN's stockholders' pockets. Look at the ratings windfall that the Wade/Bosh 'decision' generated for ESPN the day prior WITHOUT any sort of advertised special segment. C'mon...the "decision" for LBJ was whether he was going to let the money generated by the buzz surrounding his decision go to ESPN or to a charity.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. TiffanySC29325

    Wow did this conversation go in the wrong direction or what !!!

    October 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. NP

    Regardless of whether we think he made a "non loyal" decision to stay with the Cav's or whether his decision to publicize it was a bad one it does not give us the right to send hate filled messages. It's just hate and it's ridiculous. We hide behind texts and tweets these days to spread hatred and Bully pepole with words. Before we send stuff like that we should ask oursleves, "have I ever made a mistake" "am I perfect", "do I want to be talked to like this"?

    October 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ronjon

    James responded. There's always a race factor. Pretty sure that kind of thinking is essential to being a racist.

    October 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. T-2000

    As usual CNN is deleting posts that tell the truth.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. T-2000

    LeBron James: 6 ft 8, 265 pounds. Average racist white guy: 5 ft 8, 150 to 190 pounds. Basically... LeBron would destroy you. NONE of you racist cowards would say any of this stuff to his face.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. T-2000

    I think the saddest thing coming from this is not the racist idiots hiding in their basements typeing crazy comments. The saddest thing has been the way CNN has let racist comments on this article get out of control. There was actually a guy who said that a black guy should be hanged. CNN did not even delete his comment.

    October 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. T-2000

    I wonder what CNN would do if all of these racist comments were about Steven Spielberg or Jerry Seinfeld. I'm sure CNN would delete every single one of those.

    October 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
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