When President Donald Trump called out Stephen Curry and rescinded the White House invitation to the Warriors, LeBron James came hard in defense of his on-court rival.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was a big Trump supporter (as were many big business leaders) and paid $750,000 toward his inauguration. But on CNBC’s Squawk Box Friday, he said he was shocked by the messages he got after LeBron’s Tweet.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said Friday he received the “most vile, disgusting, racist” voicemails after LeBron James called President Donald Trump a “bum” on Twitter.
“I didn’t even tell LeBron this. Now he’s going to know,” Gilbert said Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” He called the voicemails “some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard people say. You could hear it in their voice.”
“It wasn’t even about the issue. That’s what really got me. They went to who they really are, some of them,” the billionaire Gilbert added. “There’s an element of racism in this country that I didn’t realize existed.”
Racism has always existed in this country, some more subtle than others. However, many most blatant, unapologetic racists have felt emboldened since the election of Trump. We saw it in Charlottesville and other protests around the nation.
Dan Gilbert heard it when it landed on his voicemail.
The NBA will be in the midst of debate and race issues going forward as some form of national anthem protests happen when play opens up this weekend. That is going to open the door to a lot more racist comments about the NBA and its players, ones they know is coming. What the league and players need to do is find a way to rise above that noise, make their voices heard, but also make a difference in their communities.