LeBron James encouraged vandals to spray racial slurs on his home again.
That's a remarkable sentiment from a luminary who's thought of as a sports icon and even a pop-culture juggernaut, but should be regarded more for his willingness to speak out on social issues.
While many pro athletes choose to mind their personal interests and just carry out their duties within the entertainment machine, a few like James are willing to advance difficult discussions.
Los Angeles police were investigating a report the N-word was spray painted on his front gate Wednesday. At a news conference to preview the NBA Finals, James said, "If this incident that happened to my family can keep the conversation going -- to keep progressing, not regressing -- I'm not against it happening to us again."
James mentioned Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicago kid beaten to death by two white men while visiting Mississippi in 1955. Till's mother insisted on an open casket to show the world what happened to her son.
On the NBA's biggest stage, when it can resonate the most, James is willing to take on a monumental topic.
He knows people of all colors will listen to him. We must appreciate he has embraced that burden.