Cavaliers star LeBron James says he’s lost respect for Phil Jackson after the Knicks president took digs at James in an interview with ESPN.com.
Jackson, when asked about the state of the Miami Heat, said that James requires “special treatment,” and “needs things his way.” He also referred to James’s business associates as a “posse.”
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“I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do,” James said after practice on Tuesday. “Obviously he was at the helm of (the team featuring) my favorite player of all time, MJ, and also being there growing up and watching him with the Lakers, but I got nothing for him.
“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.”
The use of that word struck a cord with James and Maverick Carter, one of his business partners.
“I don’t care that he talks about LeBron,” Carter added in an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin earlier in the day. “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.”
As president of the Knicks, one of Jackson’s duties is to recruit free agents to play in New York. It remains to be seen whether this will hurt him in the future, but it probably won’t help.