Clevelanders burned their LeBron James jerseys. Miamians blacked his face out of a mural.
Roughly a couple hours after announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James' face was blacked out from a Serge Toussaint mural of the Miami Heat in Midtown.
“It really hurts me to see people vandalizing my artwork, but at the same time I understand where they’re coming from,” says Toussaint.
Toussaint painted the mural of the entire team shortly after the Heat's Big Three formed in 2010. Overall, it took him two years to complete the the piece, which stretches across a wall on 29th Street and Northwest First Avenue. James is the centerpiece of the painting.
“I spent so much time painting that mural, hoping that LeBron James would give it at least a good four years,” says Toussaint. “When you’re a real king, you got to hold on to your throne.”
Although Toussaint was not the person who blacked out James’ face, some residents have been assuming he is.
“I’m getting calls left and right: 'Serge, why you paint the face off? Why you paint the face?' " he says. “I didn’t paint the face off."
Toussaint was unaware that his mural had been vandalized until this interview. He also didn't know James was leaving the Heat.
Now, he says he might change James to a different player, or just paint his face completely off. There's also a chance the entire mural might be removed.
Toussaint said at the time of interview that he was going to check out the mural to see what changes he could make.
"I think the owner of the building might get tired of people vandalizing the wall, and he might end up taking all the pictures off," he says. "But I'm hoping not."
Most recently, Toussaint was seen painting the word "queen" over the de-faced LeBron in a YouTube video.
"You went from being a king to a queen," he says in the video, which was published by the305.com. "A king don't ever quit."
Here's what people are saying about the mural.