By: Kylan Watson
LeBron “King” James found himself in a war of words with Phil Jackson, the legendary basketball coach and current President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks. Jackson called LeBron James’ business partners and friends a posse in an interview he did with ESPN writer Jackie MacMullan.
Jackson said, “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.” (http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/18055626/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-slams-phil-jackson-referring-business-partners-posse, 11-16-16).
Jackson actually misrepresented what happened with the Heat and the extra day stay in Cleveland. What happened is the team had just wrapped up a Tuesday night game with the Cavaliers, and it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2014. The team did not have another game until Friday against the Raptors in 2014. Lebron wanted to get his friends, teammates and family members together for Thanksgiving. Lebron was not trying to have an extra day in Cleveland just for his own benefit.
James and his associates were not happy, that Jackson chose to use the term posse, instead of the more accurate term business associates. Lebron has a very close knit group of friends/ business partners who James has given opportunities to. Rich Paul is LeBron’s friend and agent. He not only represents James, but also represents John Wall, Ben Simmons and Eric Bledsoe. He owes the opportunity he received to Lebron, but he has made a name for himself of his own merit as shown by the players he represents. Lebron has used his philanthropy and his brand to open up opportunities to his close friends, but Lebron wants them to make their own successes and not just live off of his. The term posse is not accurate when describing LeBron’s relationship with his friends.
James is known for his philanthropy and helping not only the NBA, but the city of Cleveland and his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James just donated 2.5 million dollars to open a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the new Smithsonian African-American History Museum. James also is paying 41.8 million dollars to send 1,000 kids to the University of Akron. James does a lot to help his community and friends, and he deserves a lot of respect for all he does.
James said, “… I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do. Obviously he was at the helm of the team featuring my favorite player Michael Jordan, and also being there growing up and watching him with the Lakers, but I got nothing for him” (http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/18055626/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-slams-phil-jackson-referring-business-partners-posse, 11-16-16).
Coach Jackson should be worrying about making the New York Knicks better and not trying to screen, LeBron James’ relationships with his associates. It is rich coming from Jackson who rode the coattails of Jordan, Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant to 11 championships. Jackson is not a bigot, but he should have just lived by the old adage if you have nothing nice to say, do not say it at all.