Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said that he has lost all respect for Knick’s President Phil Jackson after comments he made in a recent interview with ESPN. James has taken offense to Jackson’s characterization of James and his business associates as his “posse.” When asked if he had any previous relationship with Jackson, James responded, “Zero. No relationship at all. I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do.” That respect, however, is at the very least strained due to these recent comments.
Jackson was asked to comment on James’ decision to leave the Miami Heat for Cleveland in the summer of 2014. He then referenced a situation that occurred when James was on the Heat in Cleveland for a road game.
“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,” Jackson said. “So now [coach Erik] Spoelstra has to text [Heat President Pat] 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.’”
Jackson went on to say that James has a tendency to need things his way and that he likes to be in control.
“It just sucks that now, at this point, having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter that’s done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word ‘posse,’” James said.
These comments and this recent feud has put New York Knicks shooting forward and personal friend of James, Carmelo Anthony, in a tough spot. Anthony said that he really doesn’t know what the Knicks’ president meant by the word “posse,” but he hopes it’s just a simple case of speaking without thinking—something we’re all guilty of.
James’ associate Maverick Carter also took offense to these comments.
“If he would have said ‘LeBron and his agent,’ ‘LeBron and his business partners’ or ‘LeBron and his friends,’ that’s one thing,” Carter said. “Yet, because you’re young and black, he can use that word. We’re grown men.”
James said that this comment is bigger than just him, his friends and the NBA, because it is comments like this that set African-Americans back.
“We see the success that we have, but then there is always someone that lets you know how far we still have to go as African-Americans,” James said. “We’re not going to let Phil Jackson’s comments stop us from doing what we need to do. It just gives us extra motivation.”