After LeBron James's Los Angeles home was vandalized last week with the N-word spray painted on its front gate, the three-time NBA champion evoked the name of Emmett Till in explaining how "being Black in America is tough."
Some of King James's critics immediately blasted him for mentioning Till, with Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock even calling LeBron's analogy "preposterous."
Yet Till's family doesn't have any beef with LeBron mentioning his name in his press conference last week. In fact, they appreciate the NBA superstar doing so.
"I don't understand the criticism," Deborah Watts, Till's cousin and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, told TMZ Sports. "It's his experience and we all have our own experience. Emmett Till's name is a very powerful name."
She added, "I think our country is sounding like, looking like that we're trying to turn the clock back and I think with what he did in using his platform was very, very powerful, and I really appreciate his courage."
Watts clarified that while you can't compare the hate crime that LeBron endured to the brutal lynching of Till, the country's current climate made it the right time for James to speak and evoke Till's name.
"Is it lynching the way Emmett was murdered and killed? No," she continued. "Was it a part of an environment that created an opportune time for people to feel like they could do it? Yes."
Watch Watts make her full comments below.
After his $20.9 million LA home had the N-word spray painted on it last week, James addressed the incident and evoked Till's name via a powerful NBA Finals press conference statement.
"Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America," James said a day before Game 1 of the Finals last Wednesday. "Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day. I think back to Emmett Till's mom and the reason she had an open casket, she wanted to show the world what her son went through in terms of a hate crime in America. No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being Black in America is tough."
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(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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