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LeBron James talks experiencing racial profiling as a youth while condemning violence

“I do not condone violence toward anyone: police, Black people, white people, anyone of color, [or] anyone not of color,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said.

LeBron James Getty Images

Following Denver Nuggets’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Conference Finals on Tuesday (Sept. 22), LeBron James spoke with reporters about his team’s effort and their state of mind going into Thursday night’s (Sept. 24) Game 4.

During the press briefing, one reporter brought up the recent Compton shooting of two Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies. While speaking about his reaction to the shooting and a subsequent request from the LA Sheriff, James condemned violence on both sides.

“I’ve never, in my 35 years, condoned violence. Never have. But I also know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong,” James said. “I grew up in an inner city — in a Black community — what we call the hood, or the ghetto, however you wanna picture it. And I’ve seen a lot of accounts first-hand of Black people being racially profiled for [their] color. I’ve seen it throughout my whole life.”

“I’m not saying that all cops are bad, because I actually... am around them all the time and they’re not all bad,” he continued. “But when you see the videos that’s going on, not only in my hometown but all over America, you continue to see acts of violence against my kind; I can do nothing but speak about it. But not one time have I ever said, let’s act violent toward cops.”

Viral videos — like the one of Jacob Blake’s shooting — and personal experiences, James said, makes him and others “fear that moment that we’re pulled over.” The Lakers star also referenced a recent incident where a Black man was wrongly arrested by Wisconsin police in his own home.

“If you can’t tell me that’s racial profiling, then I don’t know what the hell we’re looking at,” James remarked. “But, I do not condone violence toward anyone. Police, Black people, white people, anyone of color, anyone not of color — because that’s not ever going to make this world or America what we want it to be.”

The next day on Twitter, James also reacted to the grand jury’s decision to not indict two of the three Louisville cops who fired their weapons at Breonna Taylor. Ex-officer Brett Hankison was the only person to be charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for firing multiple shots at Taylor’s and neighboring apartments. Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, the former whose shots killed Taylor, were not charged.

“I’ve been lost for words today!” James wrote. “I’m devastated, hurt, sad, mad! We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life.”

After the two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot in Compton, LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva called on James to double the reward money for those with information on the shooter, which Vanessa Bryant criticized online.

See a snippet from James’ press briefing below.

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