LeBron James is Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.
That means more than just ending up on the cover of the magazine, there is an awards ceremony. It took place Tuesday night in New York, and Jay Z was there to present LeBron with the award. In the process, Jay Z decided to take a shot at Phil Jackson over the “posse” comments demeaning LeBron’s business partners.
“He’s a dedicated family man who married his high school sweetheart Savannah. Has three lovely children. He’s the son who honors and worships his mother Gloria. The friend who put his “posse” in position. We do understand where we come from. The only difference between us and someone who has their MBA from Wharton or Sloan or Berkley or Stanford is opportunity. LeBron James has provides his friends with that opportunity and as we’ve witness their development. And if you look up at the scoreboard, very few businessmen are better than Maverick Carter, Rich Paul, Randy Mims and all the rest of the posse behind the scenes that make it look like they’re just sticking out.”
“LeBron James has made all of those around him better on and off the court. We acknowledge and recognize all he has done for the game. But, tonight we say thank you. Not just for your commitment to basketball, but for all you’ve done for the community. And thank you for how you’ve enriched the lives of all those around you. We messed around and got a triple-double in real life.”
LeBron nodded and laughed throughout those comments.
Consider this the latest sign — along with Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and others coming to LeBron’s defense on this issue — about how seriously the community took Phil’s comments dismissing the men who helped build LeBron’s impressive business empire.
Jackson never apologized for the comment, which he either didn’t see as insensitive and insulting, or he didn’t care. Either way, comments like that — and the pointless dig at Anthony holding the ball too long recently — show Jackson as old and out of touch with today’s player. Which is going to be an issue if part of your job is to recruit today’s superstars to come play for your team.