Early Wednesday morning it was reported that Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James’ Los Angeles home had been graffitied with a racist slur. The n-word was written on the front gate of one the star NBA player's family homes.

Coming the day before the Cavaliers play the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, James gave a heartbreaking response to the incident at a pregame press conference:

“It just goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America. And you know, hate in America, especially for an African-American, is living everyday. Even though that it's concealed most of the time — people hide their faces and will say things about you and when they see you they smile in your face — it's alive every single day ... so it's like it doesn't matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough."

James mentioned initially thinking of Emmett Till's mother following the incident, stating that "the reason that she had an open casket is because she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as the hate crime, and being black in America."

Former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral joined Margery Eagan and Jim Braude on Boston Public Radio to discuss the issue within the scope of race relations in America.

“I think he showed remarkable grace, I think it’s just sort of who he is as a person," Cabral said. "What he’s saying, we know that. It’s not surprising even in Massachusetts. It wasn’t that long ago that we had incidences with football players that played for the Patriots being stopped by police. It’s just a true thing in America. It's one of the purposes and one of the drivers of racism, is to constantly feed that thing in a racist's soul that requires them to feel better than or that allows them to project their petty resentments. It doesn’t surprise me that happened to LeBron James because I think any black person is eligible for that,” Cabral said.

Referencing the James Baldwin documentary, "I Am Not Your Negro," Cabral gave a brief explainer on the usage of the racist term.

“James Baldwin talks at length about what we euphemistically refer to as the n-word," Cabral said. "He says the question is 'why do white people need that word? It's not our word, we didn't create it. Why do you need it? Why do you need to use it?' So you have somebody like LeBron James who would probably accept criticism of his talent, of his game, or if he exercised bad judgement in a situation, but that's the word that's on his house. Not because it refers to him, but because the person who wrote it needs for that word to exist."

Cabral believes that until people are cognizant of their own inherent beliefs, substantial progress in America just won’t be seen.

“That's what I mean when I say all the time here that until it becomes a problem in the eyes of people who both exercise racism and those who maybe don't, but don't do a lot about it ... that level of self-examination has to happen in the white community, because what you're seeing now with this rise in hate groups and all of these incidents that are happening, that's not going to stop. That's going to keep going and going,” Cabral said.  

Andrea Cabral is the former Sheriff of Suffolk County and Secretary of Public Safety. To hear her entire conversation with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.