Phil Jackson made some comments about LeBron James and his business partners on Monday that did not sit well with Maverick Carter, and Carter is letting the New York Knicks president hear about it.
In an interview with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com, Jackson discussed LeBron’s decision to leave the Miami Heat and return to Cleveland in 2014. In doing so, Jackson referred to James’ business partners as his “posse.”
“That was definitely a slap in the face. But there were a lot of little things that came out of that,” Jackson said. “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.”
Carter, who has been friends with LeBron since high school and managed many of his business ventures for years, said the language Jackson used has racial undertones.
“I don’t care that he talks about LeBron,” Carter told Dave McNemanin of ESPN.com. “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.”
Carter, along with LeBron, agent Rich Paul and Randy Mims, founded the management company LRMR in 2006. Carter also sent some tweets expressing his displeasure with Jackson’s comments.
While Jackson may not have intended to offend Carter and company, you can understand why his remarks did not sound flattering. Carter and Mims are longtime friends of LeBron, but they are also credited with helping to build James’ brand and keep his life in order on and off the court. Heck, look at the insane deal Carter helped facilitate with Nike. Most “posses” can’t pull off a feat like that.
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports