Basketball star LeBron James described US President Donald Trump as a “bum” over comments he made about fellow player Steph Curry.
Trump said the Golden State Warriors were no longer invited to the White House after star player Curry, 29, said he did not want to attend.
“Going to White House was an honour until you showed up,” James, 32, said.
On Friday, Trump said NFL players who protest during the national anthem should be sacked.
‘We don’t stand for the things he’s said’
Basketball’s champion team, the Golden State Warriors from California, were considering turning down the traditional invitation to celebrate their NBA title success at the White House.
Warriors point guard Curry, a two-time winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, said the team could “inspire some change” by refusing to visit the home of the president.
“I don’t want to go,” Curry said on Friday, adding that it would show the players “don’t stand for… the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times”.
He added: “I don’t think us not going to the White House is going to miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that.”
Trump responded by tweeting that the invitation had been withdrawn.
James, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has won three NBA championships and four NBA MVP awards, campaigned for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival, during the presidential election campaign.
What is the anthem protest?
Last year, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem in protest at racial injustice and police brutality.
More players have since joined in by taking a knee or raising a fist during the anthem.
Trump told a Republican rally in Alabama on Friday that a refusal to sing the anthem showed “disrespect of our heritage”.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired’,” he said.
“Some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”