America has been rocked over the past three days by shootings that have brought the subject of racial discrimination to the forefront once again. Two black men were shot dead by police officers on Tuesday and Wednesday before five cops were murdered during an attack in Dallas.
Alton Sterling became one of 123 African-American men to be shot dead by police in the United States in 2016 alone when he was gunned down in Louisiana. Philando Castile was the latest victim on Wednesday as he was shot in his car, in front of his girlfriend and a child, having been pulled over for a busted tail light in Minnesota.
Videos have been doing the rounds on social media of the two incidents; a 35-second clip surfaced on Facebook of police struggling with Sterling on the ground before what sounded like two shots were unloaded into his chest. The image of the man lying motionless as he bled out was haunting.
The events that saw Castile lose his life were live streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend.
A peaceful protest in the Texas city of Dallas on Thursday night was turned into a blood bath as five officers lost their lives and seven were injured during an attack that involved sniper rifles, held the threat of downtown explosives and saw three suspects arrested while another died in the standoff.
When events of this magnitude occur it affects people from all walks of life, and sporting superstars are not immune from the emotions that grip the nation when people are mercilessly killed in cold blood.
Using hashtags such as 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Stop The Violence', the three-time Finals MVP and championship-winner LeBron James sent out a series of tweets to express his dismay at the events that have rocked the country and reverberated throughout the globe since Tuesday.
The 'Black Lives Matter' movement was started in 2013 following the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 and has gained traction in the States following every murder.
James was not the only NBA player to get behind the movement. New Orlando Magic man Serge Ibaka said his piece on Twitter, as did George Hill and a number of other stars.
These haunting events will stick with the country for years to come and sport holds the power to offer people a release from everyday life. Sometimes, in the darkest times, people look towards sports stars to offer them hope and belief.
LeBron has often been an advocate against oppression and previously the four-time NBA MVP has made statements about the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by police in Cleveland and wore an "I Can’t Breathe" T-shirt in warm-ups after Eric Garner was choked to death by officers in New York in 2014.