A recent comment by Phil Jackson has caused Lebron James to lose all respect for him.
Phil Jackson did an interview with ESPN in which, as a former coach turned NBA exec, he was asked about coaches and team synergy. Somehow the discussion got on the subject of the Miami Heat. Jackson discusses Lebron James’ time with the Heat and said there were times that Lebron wanted preferential treatment, especially when it came to playing games in Cleveland.
“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.”
Lebron caught wind of Phil Jackson’s comments and needless to say, he didn’t like them very much.
“I had nothing but respect for him as a coach,” James told reporters at shoot around.
He was then asked, “Had respect?” to which he answered, “Yeah.”
He was asked, “Until now?” to which James responded again, “Yeah.”
Maverick Carter, Lebron’s friend and business partner clarified that it was the word “posse” that didn’t sit well with him and Lebron.
“It’s the word ‘posse’ and the characterization I take offense to,” said Carter. “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.”
Later, Lebron added on to he and Maverick’s statements. “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. I believe the only reason he used that word is because he sees young African-Americans trying to make a difference.”
To take it further, Lebron implies that if Phil Jackson was comfortable labeling him and his business partners as a “posse,” there’s no telling what he’s said behind closed doors.
“It’s not surprising,” James said. “If [Jackson] says it out to the media, you can only imagine what he says when the camera is not on him or the headset or whatever you guys record on. Just got a lot more work to do.”
What are your thoughts? Do you think Phil Jackson meant any harm by his use of the word “posse”?