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. OwnIt

    Vince I think you're sensitive just like all the other folks of ALL COLORS worried about a fvcking basketball player.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. OwnIt

    OK Elmo, lets hold hands and sing.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Vince

    wow, now your trying to be funny... W8... Let me write something stupid like that... Ownit I'm guess you are a dude and I don't hold hands with dudes.. Sorry... If you can take your hand away from being below your belt for a sec... then you can hold hands and sing by yourself like most of your Friday Nights...

    October 21, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Vince

    I'm like the last person that is sensitive about a rich basketball player. I was pointing out facts and that's it.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Name* chris

    Give lebron a banana

    October 21, 2010 at 2:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • p1tey1

      awww...don't be jealous! COWARD!

      October 21, 2010 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Will Davis

    It strikes me rather odd that a racist tweet was made against a black person, and then all of the sudden, there's a few responses accusing "whites" of bigotry in this matter. First of all, very VERY few whites would support such a hatefully racist tweet, and second, who knows what really is the race of that tweeter! Just because the tweet used the n-word, and some insulting descriptions, doesn't in any way imply that the tweeter was white! It could be made from ANY race, including black! We know nothing about the author's race. All we know is that it's a hate filled racist tweet that could have been made by ANY uncivil and worthless person. Jumping the gun and accusing whites is in itself either pure carelessness, or just another form of bigotry. Nobody should be pointing the race finger at anyone. It solves nothing, and only fuels a fire that should have been put out a long time ago! Let's put our fingers down and stomp this thing out!

    October 21, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • V Saxena

      I've done that myself @ Will. It's hard man. When you are deliberately attacked by someone relying on racially based insults, it's quite easy to become so caught up that you fight back with just as many overtones. The key is to maintain one's cool. Speaking of which, I really appreciate how LeBron handled this situation. He maintained professionalism, did not reply in kind, and instead spoke eloquently on motivation. I don't know much about his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers (nor do I care), but as far as this situation is concerned, LeBron deserves a pat on the back.

      And @ Vince & Victor - Sighs. You two illiterates make all people with a name that begins with a V look bad.

      October 21, 2010 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dino

    Racially charged tweets dont mean anything unless they can prove that white people left them they are meaningless. I read a story a few years ago about a black person writting down the n word on another black persons locker. With that said even if a caucasian redneck used racial slurs against a rich, powerfull African American man it doesnt prove that race was a factor in the backlash over his trade to Miami.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dino

    Correction, it wasnt a trade it was his decision and i support him.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Tom

    ... it's not a bed of roses? My goodness someone said something mean to him over the internet! Not like that happens to LITERALLY EVERYONE. You still make many millions a year, go buy yourself a bed of roses.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Awhitman

    No matter who you are or how much you make I'm sure comments like that hurt. Money doesn't fix feelings.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. chris

    everyone can redeem themselves, those here that want to say he can't are just bitter haters. the guy is still young and the way the media hypes everything it's no wonder that he is seen as an egoist. all i can say is, he has done more than lindsey lohan and paris hilton together have done for others. so no, he isn't a ego freak, he's just young and we all have made mistakes at his age... the pope still has a job after all the dirt he has been in full knowledge of so if you want to try to burden him with your hate, it won't work. blacks have endured much worse for much longer and we are still here so too bad you waste your time with this idea you are important to him 'cause you are not... even with obama, white people think blacks can only get one chance when they give a bush tonz of chances and he still blows it to the point of ruining the world but since he is white it's overlooked. if a black person makes a mistake well then it's time to take it all from them. typical "kracker jack", don't kid yourself you aren't like that, we see the same thing in the tea-party... we are here to stay and we will overcome, again...

    October 21, 2010 at 3:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dino

      Chris you seem to have a serious persecution complex my friend. When you say "white people think" you are generalizing because not all white and black people think the same way.

      October 21, 2010 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. snj

    People always try to tear down rich, successful black men. Look at Lebron, Kanye, the late Michael Jackson, Michael Vick, heck – even President Obama. Race is a BIG FACTOR in the way how people treat and perceive each other and it will never change. People will always hold racial biases against other people and anytime a black man wants to think or do something for himself it is ALWAYS a controversial issue. It's sad that in 2010, there are still backward-a$$ people living in America who's primary obsession is to hurl racial epithets at minorities.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Beast

    "white people think blacks can only get one chance when they give a bush tonz of chances and he still blows it to the point of ruining the world but since he is white it's overlooked."

    What?

    Since when have Bush's actions been "overlooked"? Don't take an extreme view. Once you find yourself taking a side, you've become everything you despise.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. SMD

    Amazing how this has all turned into a racial B***h session. realism is simple, there are racists, black, white, italian, german, male, female. nothing you can do about it. i am Italian not white so i will make it simple. why is it every time an African American accomplishes something great we must label it as the first African American to ________. why can't it just be celebrated as an accomplishment. Lebron James is a great basketball player. who cares what the color of his skin is. He did what he thought was a good idea with the publicity. we all make mistakes. move on people. you want to put all this effort towards something how about you put it towards the racism within yourself. every person that posted on here found a way to insult another and not one person actually knows the race of the person that posted

    October 21, 2010 at 3:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dino

      Everything in this country turns into race. When reporters ask stupid questions they get stupid answers. We need to hold the media accountable for their actions. SMD you ask who cares what color his skin is? Apparently the mainstream media does, thats something blacks and whites and Italians "lol" all have in common we all watch the news. What did you expect from a Soledet O'Brien? Did you expect serious questions about basketball? She is not even a sports reporter. She does shows called "Black In America" and "Hispanic In America" She should stick to race baiting and leave the $100 million dollar athletes alone.

      October 21, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • SMD

      I agree Dino, i think the biggest racists in our country is the media itself. They embellish stories to make it more interesting to their viewers not caring what the facts may be. until we as Americans put a stop to this kind of reporting it will continue. they are suppose to report the news, not their opinion of what we want to hear. And as for the Oboma lovers out there, he was the first media elected president. We let the media push us into a direction. we voted from our tv's not from our heads.

      October 21, 2010 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Get Real

      You nailed the whole thing with two words... "as Americans". We need to all be just Americans. Not Native Americans, or African Amercians or Mexican Americans, just regular Americans. Nothing will change unless we let go of our differences and realize that we all play for the same team.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Vince

    wow...
    "No matter who you are or how much you make I'm sure comments like that hurt. Money doesn't fix feelings."
    W8 it does... It all depends how much you make. If you make 20k a year yea it hurts.. If you make 2m+ you can get over it.
    "People always try to tear down rich, successful black men. Look at Lebron, Kanye, the late Michael Jackson, Michael Vick, heck – even President Obama."
    All the people that you mention has major problems personality problems or made really bad mistakes or well purely just lied and didn't do anything for America yet. So Far Obama followed Bush's policies not his own. Waiting and I voted for him.
    Those people we attack with disgust is not because of race.
    Why didn't you pick Bernie Williams, Drake, or Danny Glover they are rich black males with so far no records against them?
    Look at CNN main page Black America...
    Where's the other races? Not important? Or, do we still owe them something....?
    Get over it...
    Done.

    October 21, 2010 at 4:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
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