Jackson made the comments in a newly-published ESPN interview, which included his thoughts on James leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavs.
“It had to hurt when they lost LeBron,” said Jackson. “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 [coach Pat] 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.”
In his response, James noted that he had “zero” ties to Jackson, but admired him for coaching the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan’s era. That said, he’s not happy with Jackson’s “posse” comments.
“I’ve been in the league for 14 years and from the beginning two years in, I felt like I wanted to put my guys in positions of power, give those guys an opportunity to better themselves,” James said Tuesday (Nov. 15). “You know, in the beginning we were highly criticized and I was highly criticized about what I wanted to do to help some guys around me become very successful in business.
“It just sucks that now at this point having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter that’s done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word ‘posse,'” he continued.
“If you go and read the definition of what the word ‘posse’ is, it’s not what I’ve built over my career,” James added. “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.”
Carter had similar feelings, telling ESPN that he took “offense” to Jackson’s characterization.
“If he would have said LeBron and his agent, LeBron and his business partners or LeBron and his friends, that’s one thing,” explained Carter. “Yet because you’re young and black, he can use that word. We’re grown men.”
Peep some of the Twitter reactions to Jackson’s “posse” debacle below.
— Maverick Carter (@mavcarter) November 14, 2016
I don’t think that Phil Jackson used the term “posse” in a racist way towards LeBron James at all. Just sounds like slow news day clickbait.
— NUFF$AID (@nuffsaidNY) November 15, 2016
When the word “posse” hurts Lebron’s feelings:
“Phil Jackson” pic.twitter.com/6MYLrRqgoa
— MJ?? (@MJGWrites) November 15, 2016
I don’t get how LeBron can lose respect for Phil Jackson for that reason considering he went BACK to play for Dan Gilbert 😴
— James (@SportsTakeJames) November 15, 2016
Phil Jackson using the word ‘posse’ isn’t racist. People are reaching like it’s yoga. Stop it.
— Chris ? (@ImSmoove_) November 15, 2016
I get what LeBron is saying, but sideways calling Phil Jackson a racist is a bit much.
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) November 15, 2016
Phil Jackson is NOT racist. He is 70 tho. And their language is a little dated but he isn’t a racist. STAHP.
— Tv Entertainment (@Tveez_World) November 15, 2016