For those who aren’t in the know this is an overall summary.

>Jackson, in an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan published this week, made the statement while revisiting James’ departure from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014 and what it meant for the tenure of Heat president Pat Riley.

>”It had to hurt when they lost LeBron,” Jackson said. “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 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.

>James’ business associate Maverick Carter took issue with Jackson’s statement, telling ESPN on Monday that he felt compelled to respond, citing the recent debate around coded language.

>”It’s the word ‘posse’ and the characterization I take offense to,” Carter said. “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.”

>James elaborated on the subject Tuesday morning.

>”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. “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.'”

>Jackson then proceeded to double-down by retweeting a post regarding a multicultural educational entity called “Posse Foundation” and sharing the link to its website.

Now that we’ve gotten that recap out of the way the whole reason why
this is being posted is because I still don’t understand why Phil Jackson was the one blamed for the use of the term “posse” in that context. I’m not from the U.S. so I’m not sure just how racially charged that word is over in the States but even if that were the case, the thing that everybody seemed to overlook at the time and even now is that those were not Jackson’s words. Those were the words of Pat Riley.

>*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 find it interesting that this was never really brought up at the time considering that Phil Jackson faced a lot of vitriol from a variety of sources for words that weren’t even his.

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  1. When I think of posse I think of John Travolta in Grease with his friends all wearing leather jackets and slicked-back hair snapping their fingers and chewing on toothpicks. I do not associate that word with black people specifically.

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