Not that LeBron James was headed to New York anyway….
In his wide-ranging interview with Jackie MacMullan at ESPN that covered the triangle, Knicks roster, the Lakers, and much more, the conversation turned to LeBron’s exit from Miami. Jackson said this, defending his man Riley.
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.
I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way.
LeBron’s long-time friend and business partner Maverick Carter took offense.
LeBron grew up in Akron very tight with “the four horsemen, ” and he’s gone on to have business dealings with some of them. But to think of them as just a posse, a group of hangers-on, is a mistake. Carter is a defacto manager who set up LeBron’s reportedly $1 billion Nike deal, among other very successful business ventures. Rich Paul, his friend and now agent, went off and studied how to be an agent working at other firms before coming back and lining up LeBron (among other clients) and it was he that orchestrated the move back to Cleveland. We could go on, but you get the idea.
Did those guys have an opportunity because of their friendship with LeBron? Sure. But having an opportunity and taking advantage of that in a way that is best for both a friend and a business partner is something else entirely. The NBA is full of leeches. LeBron’s people are not that, and they should take offense at that idea.