LeBron James said he has lost respect for Phil Jackson a day after the New York Knicks president referred to the NBA star’s business associates as his “posse.”
“I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do,” James said Tuesday after practice. “Obviously he was at the helm of [the Chicago Bulls featuring] my favorite player of all time [Michael Jordan], and also being there growing up and watching him with the Lakers, but I got nothing for him.”
During an interview with ESPN on Monday, Jackson was asked about the state of the Miami Heat. That’s when he brought up James.
"It had to hurt when they lost LeBron," Jackson said. "That was definitely a slap in the face. But there were a lot of little things that came out of that. 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.
"I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way."
The comments may have been critical of James overall, but one word in particular rubbed James and his camp the wrong way. James’ longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter tweeted later Monday:
Carter followed up with ESPN on Monday.
"I don't care that he talks about LeBron," Maverick Carter said. "He could say he's not that good or the greatest in the world as a basketball player. I wouldn't care. It's the word 'posse' and the characterization I take offense to. 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 echoed that comment Tuesday.
“To use that label, and if you go and read the definition of what the word “posse’ is, it’s not what I’ve built over my career,” James said. “It’s not what I stand for. It’s not what my family stands for. And I believe the only reason he used that word is because it’s young African Americans trying to make a difference.”
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