Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James took issue Monday with New York Knicks President Phil Jackson’s use of the term “posse,” leading to a lively discussion on Twitter.
James’ issue stems from a statement Jackson made to ESPN Nov. 14, when he referred to the NBA player’s business partners and friends as a “posse.”
“When LeBron was playing with the [Miami] Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night,” Jackson told ESPN. “They don’t do overnights. Teams just don’t. So now [Heat coach Erik] Spoelstra has to text [Heat president 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.
“I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys,” Jackson continued. “But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way.”
When asked for his response, James told ESPN he had “no relationship at all” to the former Chicago Bulls coach.
“I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do,” he noted.
But what Twitter latched onto was James’ issue with the word “posse.”
“To use that label – and if you read the definition of what the word ‘posse’ is – it’s not what I’ve built over my career. It’s not what I stand for,” the athlete said. “It’s not what my family stands for. And I believe the only reason he used that word is because he sees a young African-American trying to make a difference.”
In response, D.J. Andrews called for Jackson to lose his position.
@KobeTruthNlight agreed with James but told him to respect the coach who led the Lakers for more than a decade.
Jammy Jam also sided with James. He referenced Jackson’s history of speaking on issues he was not originally involved in. The retired coach previously put his two cents’ worth in on a 2012 feud between former Lakers players Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.
Idc I'm team Bron Bron, I don't like Phil Jackson anyway. He be talking shit and acting up but supposed to be all about zen lol
— Henny Hardaway (@OfficialJammy) November 15, 2016
But some users defended Jackson. They backed away from James’ longtime business associate Maverick Carter’s assertion that Jackson was disrespectful.
All the hard work,effort and achievement and @PhilJackson11 still calls us a "posse"every step you take they remind you, you ghetto" @S_C_ pic.twitter.com/OPsPvAvFoM
— Maverick Carter (@mavcarter) November 14, 2016
But Fire Rich Cho checked Carter on the word’s definition.
lemme finish it for you. Look at the final definition and stop being so sensitive. pic.twitter.com/4KB4siTRmU
— Fire Rich Cho (@FireRichCho) November 15, 2016
Carter later clarified his stance, noting he didn’t call Jackson racist.
Let me be clear I'm not saying @PhilJackson11 is racist,, I'm calling out his disrespectful language
— Maverick Carter (@mavcarter) November 15, 2016
Meanwhile, Marquisha Jeng explained the origins of the word “posse” before deciding Jackson “meant no harm.”
'Posse' is derived from the word 'posse comitatus', which is a legal term defining power or authority. Phil Jackson meant no harm…
— Monet Jeng 🌱 (@_melaninhippie_) November 15, 2016
Truth Seeker questioned why James felt disrespected by Jackson while he “went back to slave master Dan Gilbert.” The statement refers to Gilbert’s open letter in which he blasted James for leaving the Heat in 2010. During the ensuing fallout, Rev. Jesse Jackson told the Associated Press Gilbert saw James as an enslaved African who escaped from his slavemaster.
“His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality,” Jackson said. “He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner/employee relationship – between business partners – and LeBron honored his contract.”
Additionally, Checo said he didn’t believe the Knicks’ president was racist.
I don't think Phil Jackson ment for his statement to come off as racist. If he was then he made the WORST career choice. #LeBronJames #NBA
— Checo ⛾ (@ChecoRepublic) November 15, 2016