LeBron James and his agent, business partner, and friend Maverick Carter took issue with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson referring to James’ group of friends and business partners as his “posse.”
In an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jackson answered a question about LeBron’s decision to leave the Miami Heat in 2014.
Among other things, Jackson said James likes “special treatment” and “needs things his way.” While discussing one of Miami’s trips to Cleveland, Jackson criticised James for trying to alter the Heat’s travel plans “because you and your mum and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.”
Carter first responded, telling ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that he took issue with Jackson’s use of the word “posse.”
“It’s the word ‘posse’ and the characterization I take offence 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.”
Carter also took to Twitter to reinforce his point.
— Maverick Carter (@mavcarter) November 14, 2016
On Tuesday, James addressed the issue, saying he lost respect for Jackson.
LeBron on Phil Jackson: “I had nothing but respect for him as a coach …”
Q: “Had respect?”
Q: “Until now?”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 15, 2016
James continued, saying he felt that Jackson used the word “posse” because James and his business team are “young African-Americans trying to make a difference.”
“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. 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.”
While Jackson likely didn’t mean to use the word in a racially charged manner, it’s a poor lack of judgment to comment on James, who is not only one of the NBA’s best players, but highly successful off the court.
Jackson has to help rebuild the Knicks, and saying such things about James could have a ripple effect for impending free agents. It also can’t help that Carmelo Anthony is best friends with James.
In the wake of the comments, it will be interesting to see if other players speak up about Jackson’s language or if Jackson apologizes or clarifies what he meant.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.