LeBron James Says "It's All Good" After Reefa Graffiti Sprayed on Billboard Across from Arena

A TMNK painting nearly identical to his billboard graffiti bomb
A TMNK painting nearly identical to his billboard graffiti bomb
TMNK via Instagram

Remember when the Miami Heat wore hoodies in honor of Travyon Martin? Well, now another slain teenager's name is on the lips of LeBron James and company after a graffiti artist's audacious stunt.

Heat players arriving to American Airlines Arena this weekend were welcomed by huge, white letters splashed across an NBA2K14 billboard. Bahamanian artist TMNK had scrawled "Nobody Can Stop Me!" near an image of LeBron before adding the now famous tag #RIPReefa in honor of fatally Tased teen Israel Hernandez.

"It's all good," James said when asked about the image. "It's part of culture."

See also: Teenager Israel Hernandez Dies After Miami Beach Cops Catch Him Tagging, Taser Him

Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report appears to be the first person to snap a picture of the spray-painted sign.

In addition to asking James about the homage, he spoke to TMNK -- short for the The Me Nobody Knows -- about his high-risk stunt.

"Relatively uncomplicated," TMNK told Bleacher Report of his graffito. That is, until he was arrested afterwards.

"Nobody can stop LeBron as a basketball player, nobody can stop me as a street artist, and nobody can stop Israel Hernandez's life and his message. He lives on," he said.

TMNK's alterations on a billboard across from AAA
TMNK's alterations on a billboard across from AAA

TMNK also told Skolnick that his throw-up "was not a shot at police." Instead, "it's about someone who lost his life unnecessarily."

As soon as TMNK stepped down from the billboard, Miami Police arrested him on 13 counts of criminal mischief -- one for each of the cars his paint had dripped on. He was released on $65,000 bond.

TMNK told Bleacher Report that he was "remorseful" for damaging the cars, but not the billboard.

"I took a risk to make a statement," he said. "I never try to be malicious with what I do."

On Friday, friends and family members of Israel Hernandez delivered a letter to prosecutors demanding the arrest of Miami Beach Police officer Jorge Mercado, the cop who fatally Tasered Reefa on August 6.

Will LeBron James and the Heat embrace Reefa's cause the way they did Travyon Martin? Maybe not, but at least they're now aware of it.

Follow Michael E. Miller on Twitter.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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