- "It wasn't even about the issue. That's what really got me," says the billionaire Gilbert.
- Cavaliers star LeBron James called President Trump a "bum" on Twitter.
- Asked whether he spoke to James about his tweet, Gilbert said: "We didn't have any specific discussions about that."
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."
When asked whether he spoke to the Cavs superstar James about his tweet, Gilbert said, "We didn't have any specific discussions about that."
During a weekend when Trump criticized NFL players for protesting racial injustice by kneeling and sitting during the national anthem, the president tweeted on Saturday he was withdrawing an invitation to Warriors standout Steph Curry to visit the White House to celebrate Golden State's 2016 NBA Championship.
Hours later, James started a tweet "u bum," without mentioning Trump by name and said Curry had already said he wasn't going to show up at the White House.
At the time, the Warriors had not received a formal invitation to the White House. Trump's tweet and the response from James were posted a day after Curry ruled out accepting an invitation if it were to come.
James and Curry, an Under Armour athlete, have not been shy about criticizing Trump.
In February, Curry took a swipe Trump after UA chief Kevin Plank said having a pro-business president was an "asset" for the country.
In August, James, who had endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign, spoke out against the violence at the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally.