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. Stryfe38

    soooo, if all NBA owners were black, there wouldnt be a race issue. Thats racist in just saying that. Who really cares what gets tweeted to professional athletes anyway, or anyone for that matter. And I'm not familiar with "tweeting" so maybe what i'm about to say dont make sense, but how do you know if whoever is tweeting you is black, white, etc... I hope Lebron is happy and has a peaceful time in Miami.

    October 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bro fatley

    waaaan, I want a life, can I use yours Lebron

    October 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Trash


    October 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cavsfanupset

    Lebron...you are a shame to Cleveland,your hometown of Akron and utmost of Northeast Ohio.I don't want to hear this racist crap!You simply would not even sign an aotograph of a friend of mine who is white but would sign an aotograph of a friend of mine who is not white! Who is the racist?Northeast Ohio loved you and probably would have been more understanding if you would have just said you were leaving, but know you had to screw all of cleveland so they could not sign a free agent because of your selfishness!!!

    October 20, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. thetruth

    Race is always a factor and always will be whenever a person of color accomplishes anything. The hate is inbred

    October 20, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thetruth

    don't worry about all these need to get a life losers lebron just keep counting the money.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    You make millions a year Lebron, stop your whining. Other's get critized just the same and don't have the luxuries you have. Quit being a big baby. I will be laughing when the Heat don't live up to the expectations.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    when will people realize that this is a business. you're not gonna agree with every decision that every person makes. how bout this, if your not there signing their contracts, negotiating deals, or even like the team or the person in general....SHUT UP! your 2 cents isnt worth two dead flies smashed 🙂

    October 20, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Lebron proves that d-bags come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |

    So, according to most of these posts, because he plays basketball and he makes a lot of money, it is okay for someone to say totally disrespectful things to him. Not, mind you about his athletic ability, but only about his race. That makes sense to most of you???? And then you wonder why black people can always see racial bias...It is because most of you who are racially biased are paper thin in hiding it. I say, just don't hide it, say whatever you want to say, but in person and just deal with the consequences of that!

    October 21, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. corey

    he gave all the money to boys and girls club, you rock lebron, let all the people cry about that show being about ego, u gave back and that is all that matters

    October 21, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Honestly, if it was just about giving back to the community he would have written a check for a few million to the boys and girls club without a cheesy tv show about the best player in the world's decision. That would be like most of us giving them a couple grand.

      The show was all about his ego. Unfortunately his best friend/manager is not experienced to handle a star like Lebron and somehow did not foresee something like that would bring backlash.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • rich


      A good deed doesn't cancel out your dumb decisions. Just saying.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • bossfan

      LBJ is an amazing basketball player. Sadly, the Decision telvision fiasco will forever mark him as lacking an element of class. Blame it on ego or bad advice, but it won't change the perception – no matter how many rings he wins. Compounding that problem is the further dillution of the Lebron brand from his move to recruit/seekout future HOF members to team up with rather than challenging and beating the best. On the positive side though, he has cemented Michaels' standing as the best ever. LBJ has proven he is not the heir to his Airness. Long may MJ reign. "king" James is an imposter. With that said, the racially charged tweets are further evidence of sad depravity still alive in our society. It is sad that such parasites are able to reporduce let alone have access to technolgy that allows them to spread their vile "thoughts".

      October 21, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Lebron thrilled us for 7 years. I always respected him. I always felt he acted beyond his young age. My only regret is how he left Cleveland. That was a letdown. I hope he does well and continues to remember where he came from.

      October 21, 2010 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Paybackxx

      Three tweets of hate out of all the millions of people that thinks he is an idiot!!! shows that race isn't as big an issue as he tried to claim. while the people that sent those messeges are idiots, doesn't change the fact the Lebron is also a immature idiot.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • KnowUrHistory

      "Honest Abe should of signed the deportation proclamation instead of the emancipation proclamation"

      Slaves were not free for 100 years after the emancipation proclamation .. if you didn't know... That's why we don't celebrate the 4th of YOU LIE!

      October 21, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Mentalfloss

      Shameless self promotor ,.. i try not to be pestimistic but did any body else notice his retweet was structured exactly as he himself speaks and types though the account is now vanished he CLAIMS it came from there,.. to be fair a lot of people use textslang,..but if you look it is pretty clear he is self promoting,.. and even if not who cares about a millionares problems with his fan base,...
      not only do i not care about a millionares woes, i care even less when he fakes them.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mentalfloss

      if ti really mattered he would have donated it anon,..he is getting milage out of it pure and simple, capone gave out turkey at thanksgiving he was a real winner too. don't be bought off so easy ,.. look into why people like lebron donate publicly and loudly , because in the end it profits them.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • notwhite

      the Decision show was a big business disaster for the LBJ company, now it's time to do some damage control... you think?

      October 21, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • NB

      Come on.. this was sent but a retard. Anyone who sends something like that, should be ignored. They do not represent real society, and are just trying to get a rise. Forget them.

      October 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Greg Truther

    Hmmmm, white people never cease to amaze me with their hatred and ignorance. So let me get this straight. Lebron, who is black, and makes millions, retweets racially charged, hatred filled tweets as motivation to himself and to show the world about these vile low lifes, and people on here blame Lebron, but Dan Gilbert, who is white and makes billions can issue a hatred filled unprofessional memo to the people of Cleveland and white people don't say crap about him complaining. Not a word about how unprofessional he was. Let me ask you jagoffs this. If you decided you wanted to quit your job, do you let your job know before you get the job? No, that would be stupid. He was under no obligation to inform anyone the same as when an NBA owner decides he wants to trade these players. Of course black people see it as being racial because white owners trade players on a whims notice without any regard to the player. The player has to uproot his family, find another place to live, another school for his kid to attend but ohhhh nooooo, poor owners. It sickens me to core.

    October 21, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Read a book

      I'm sorry this sickens you to the core. I'm sure you're ready to take to the streets and protest. Of course, your "mistake by the lake" comment clearly states a bias and whatever I say after probably won't matter to you. But here I go...
      Look, there are bigots using this as an opportunity to attack LeBron. There are also people who think he should have stayed in Cleveland because it was "the right thing to do". There's also people that are just annoyed that he clearly threw the games against Boston, didn't give his employer something equivalent to two weeks notice(standard throughout business) and then decided to make a big production out of changing jobs.
      I'm used to the things that happen in Cleveland sports. At this point I wouldn't care if LeBron left because that's what I expected. However, he chose to make a big production over it and then follow it up by putting down the good people of the city I grew up in. Screw him! Just admit that you miscalculated and apologize for that mistake. There will still be haters who say ignorant things, but there will be far fewer than there are now.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • rich

      By the third word of your paragraph I already know you are a racist.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • A.Leigh

      @Greg Truther - Just curious...how do you know it was a white person that sent the tweet? For that matter, the account no longer exists, so how does anyone know that he didn't just make a second account, send himself the tweet and then delete the account, just to have something to "prove" that racist remarks were being made? I am not saying that is what happened, but come on. Just because someone says something about a black person, doesn't make them automatically white. I live in a predominately black neighborhood and the things they say to each other are just completely out of control. I've never heard anyone say the "N" word more than they do; to each other. Just the fact that you said; and I quote 'Hmmmm, white people never cease to amaze me with their hatred and ignorance.' is racist. Everyone just needs to get over themselves, stop blaming someone else for their problems and shortcomings and get on with their lives. Get over it, get on, or get therapy.

      October 21, 2010 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
    • B from Texas

      To Greg Truther,

      I don't know where you get your facts, but I listen to Mike and Mike in the morning and The HERD on ESPN radio in the morning and BOTH shows said A LOT about Dan Gilbert's unprofessionalism.

      And for the racism, how about you and your racism. ..."Because white owners trade them"....Not all owners are white. Let's get beyond this people. And the last time I checked Lebron didn't have kids. Nor does he have to worry about his mom, he's got tons of cash to take care of her. Racism will exist as long as we recognize race!

      October 21, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • phillth

      just one of the many reasons i don't watch sports anymore.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bshotts

      Remember, it's the uneducated cowards that are racially charged. These are people who hide behind others and who are taught to be ignorant by their parents. These people will never truly think for themselves. I am white. I see Lebron as an amazing athlete, who makes basketball fun to watch. I don't care if he was green with bumps, the man can play ball. Again, who cares if he plays for Cleveland, Miami, Chicago etc...we still get to see him display his skills. As for the ignorant, sadly, they will always exist no matter what country you live in. Rich or poor, it has no boundry. Unfortunately, not everyone can be truly educated.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Shelly

      Very well said, but you know white people read from a different book.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • The Ni$$@ U Love 2 Hate

      All my white brothers,

      Why are you turning beat red over Lebron? Why does racism, historical or present, elicit such heart felt responses from you? Some blacks say, "they hate us cause they ain't us." I laugh when I listen to these white Stu Jackson impersonatonators on ESPN, those artificial soulful ad libs that they interject during highlight recaps. It's funny to me, just like when I see the facial expressions on white men as they pass a black guy with a white girl on his arm. "I know why she's with him, and its not because his money's long."

      I digress, its fear, you fear that History will repeat itself. The return to a time when Kings were black. To a time when our Hebrews forefathers were obedient to God and enjoyed peace and prosperity. You can only white-out the History for so long. Quit living a lie, the truth shall set you free.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • qmommy

      Ok – so we know for a fact that the people who sent the tweets are white? No, you don't. You don't even know who sent them because the accounts are closed – go figure. Stop dragging race into it. Seems to me that he is grasping at anything to try and undo what is already done. If you want to go that route, his "team" could have sent the tweets just to try to make it look like a race issue. Just saying, it works both ways.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • cnaf

      "Hmmmm, white people never cease to amaze me"

      I'll tell you what amazes me- is that you complain about being sterotyped, then lump all us "white people" in your statement. Yeah, there are plenty of white people that are racist...but do you have to go and throw the whole race down because of it? Im sure James did get some tweets from stupid, ignorant white people...but getting 4 or 5 or even 50 tweets does not speak to the entire race. That would be as ignorant as me saying all blacks are crack addicts and cant find a job. Really? Really? Sick and tired of the sterotypes? So the F am I.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Roger


      October 21, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      Who cares! Too bad we all couldn't spend the same amount of time and energy worrying about more productive things that actually matter. We're all idiots for reading and engaging in all of this, including me. Tens of millions in salary and that much more in endorsements. That kind of money could buy anyone happiness.

      October 21, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • TULonghorn

      you said"white people never cease to amaze me with their hatred and ignorance" if that is not racist, do you think"black people never cease to amaze me with their laziness and violence" is????? just want to see how u think, if you do.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Carl

    This doesn't mean anything at all. Of course someone, out of the 300,000,000 people in the United States is going to say something racist about LeBron James. Who cares?

    October 21, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Susie Smiley

      Carl, you should care, you moron. We have too much racism in this world as it is. White people are no better than anybody else. Who died and made them gods. LeBron James has a gift from God and he should use it as he pleases. That is what's wrong now. Too many people judging others. Beware! How you judge others is how you will be judged. LeBron is a handsome and talented young man and he should just ignore these jealous player haters.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. isle90

    Just totally unreal, this is AMERICA in 2010 not 1810 for Lord's sake. Whether you agreed or disagreed with Lebron James move to the HEAT, it's his RIGHT to work where he wants to and how he wants to. I knew there were some strange folks in the mistake by the lake but this takes it all. Although I am not of fan of James or the HEAT, he has that right to play there and I maintain the right to root for the LAKERS again as I have since the Jerry West days. On that note I say Good Luck NBA it's going to be a wild wild ride in 2010-2011!!!

    October 21, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Obviously you don't read. The people in the wonderful city of Cleveland don't care that he left. It was the way he left. Black people are way more racist than any white person I have ever met. Until you live in the Northeast Ohio area then speak about about how people should think and fell about his ignorant decision.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tony

    It's a basketball game people.... "Game" being the operative word. When someone is sending racist rants on twitter over it then you really have to start wondering where peoples priorities are. For once I'd love to see the media obsessed about something that really matters.

    October 21, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
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