Los Angeles (AFP) - Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James reacted swiftly on Tuesday (Aug 15) to US President Donald Trump's repeated claim that there was "blame on both sides" in the deadly racial unrest in Charlottesville.
"Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that, but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again!" James tweeted shortly after Trump angrily defended his controversial initial response to the white supremacist rally on Saturday that erupted in clashes with counter-demonstrators.
A suspected Nazi sympathiser ploughed his car into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators, leaving one woman dead and 19 injured.
Trump's reaction on Saturday, that there was violence "on many sides" provoked a backlash and on Monday, he singled out the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis involved as criminals.
But in an exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday, a clearly irked Trump again said that both groups were at fault in inciting violence, and insisted that those who gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee from a park were not all racist.
James, who has long been outspoken about matters of race in America and endorsed Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton for the US presidency, had tweeted his dismay at the events in Charlottesville over the weekend.
"It's sad what's going on in Charlottesville," James tweeted on Saturday.
"Is this the direction our country is heading? "Make America Great Again huh?! He said that," added James in a dig at Trump's celebrated campaign slogan.
While James has attempted to use his celebrity to combat racism, his wealth and fame haven't made him immune.
On the eve of the National Basketball Association Finals in June, his house in an upscale Los Angeles neighbourhood was daubed with a racial slur.
"Hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day," James said at the time.