LeBron James says he has lost all respect for Phil Jackson after the New York Knicks’ president characterized James’ business associates as a “posse” in a recent interview with ESPN.
Jackson, in an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan published this week, made the statement while revisiting James’ departure from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014 and what it meant for the tenure of Heat president Pat Riley.
Jackson said this during his interview:
“When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland, and he wanted to spend the night. They don’t do overnights. Teams just don’t. So now [coach Erik] Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, ‘What do I do in this situation?’ And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, ‘You are on the plane. You are with this team.’ You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.”
James’ business associate, Maverick Carter, initially took issue with Jackson’s statement, telling ESPN on Monday that he felt compelled to respond, citing the recent debate around coded language.
“It’s the word ‘posse’ and the characterization I take offense to,” Carter said. “If he would have said LeBron and his agent, LeBron and his business partners or LeBron and his friends, that’s one thing. Yet because you’re young and black, he can use that word. We’re grown men.”
James elaborated on the subject Tuesday morning.
“I’ve been in the league for 14 years and from the beginning two years in, I felt like I wanted to put my guys in positions of power, give those guys an opportunity to better themselves,” James said. “You know, in the beginning we were highly criticized and I was highly criticized about what I wanted to do to help some guys around me become very successful in business.”
James was clearly annoyed during his ten-minute media session ahead of Cleveland’s match against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night with first place in the East on the line.