Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says LeBron James’ tweet that called President Donald Trump a “bum” prompted his phone to be flooded with “vile, disgusting, racist” voicemails that served as an eye-opener for Gilbert as to the state the country is in.
“I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist [messages],” Gilbert said Friday as a guest on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “There’s an element of racism that I didn’t even realize existed in this country this much.”
James criticized Trump last weekend after the president rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to celebrate their NBA championship with a visit to the White House.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
James also took issue with Trump calling out NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest, declaring, “The thing that frustrated me, pissed me off: He was using the sports platform to divide us.”
Gilbert said he saved the voicemails but hadn’t told James about them yet, adding that by mentioning them on television, the Cavs superstar obviously would find out.
“The thing is, I mean, some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard people say,” Gilbert said. “And you could hear it in their voice — the racism. It wasn’t even really about the issue, and that’s what really got me, because they went to who they really are, some of them.”
James and Gilbert have had their ups and downs. In June, James posted a video on Uninterrupted in which he revealed that his mother, Gloria James, was still upset with Gilbert four years after her son left the Cavs and did not endorse him leaving Miami to go back to Cleveland. However, multiple sources told ESPN that Gilbert and James were in touch more this offseason than they had been during any other offseason during their professional relationship, which has spanned a decade and a half.
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SOURCE: ESPN, Dave McMenamin