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Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert: 'Disgusting, racist' voicemails targeted LeBron James

By The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James had strong words for President Donald Trump and the White House during the team's media day. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/204d973ff255c7ffaa1414471f8c8e12/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James had strong words for President Donald Trump and the White House during the team's media day. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said he received racist voicemails after LeBron James took to social media last weekend to call President Donald Trump a "bum" in response to Trump uninviting the Golden State Warriors to the White House.

Gilbert said James' tweet prompted his phone to be flooded with racist messages.

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"I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist (messages)," Gilbert said Friday 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 Saturday after the president tweeted in response to stars Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry saying they did not want to visit the White House to celebrate their 2017 NBA championship.

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"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!" Trump tweeted last Saturday morning.

A few hours later, James denounced the president in a tweet: "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!"

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James met with the media on Monday and answered questions on Trump without mentioning his name.

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James defended the protests at NFL games last Sunday in response to Trump attacking players through the weekend for kneeling during the anthem to protest racial injustice.

"First of all, I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans. Everyone had any association with the NFL was unbelievable," James told reporters at NBA Media Day. "There was no divide. Even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.

"He used the sports platform to divide us. Sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race. It brings people together like no other. I'm not going to let one individual no matter the power, the impact he or she should have ever use sport as a platform to divide us. The people run this country, not one person. And damn sure not him."

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Gilbert said he saved the voicemails targeting James.

"The thing is, I mean, some of the most disgusting things I've ever heard people say," Gilbert told CNBC. "And you could hear it in their voice -- the racism. It wasn't even about the issue, and that's what really got me, because they went to who they really are, some of them. ... I didn't even tell LeBron this. Now he's going to know."

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