Phil Jackson referenced LeBron James’ “posse” during a question-and-answer session with ESPN yesterday. The Knicks president’s comment did not sit well with Maverick Carter, one of James’ closest business partners. Today LeBron echoed Carter’s statement and took it further, saying he had lost respect the Knicks’ president.
No ambiguity there. LeBron and his inner-circle have taken Jackson’s words very personally, no matter what the definition of “posse” is.
While Jackson was probably just searching for a word commonly used to descripte a group, there’s likely still a stigma around the word in professional sports. “Posse” was a word often associated with the hangers-on who helped usher in the broke athlete era in the 90’s. I guess “entourage” is a more socially acceptable term.
Either way, the damage is done. Phil Jackson has alienated the most powerful player in the NBA. One of LeBron’s best friends, Carmelo Anthony, already had problems with Jackson for basketball reasons. Joakim Noah, who Jackson signed to a 4-year, $72 million contract over the summer is already playing himself out of the Knicks starting lineup, and the team is off to a 4-6 start. And don’t forget Jackson whiffing on Steve Kerr.
Questionable words about LeBron – at least in LeBron’s opinion – are just one of many issues the 71-year old Jackson has faced since he took over the Knicks. This is just the latest example of him looking out of touch in New York. You have to wonder how much longer the Knicks will wait for him to do what they hired him to do.