Phil Jackson has always had a predilection for making offhanded comments to the media about whatever topic, with some of them being unnecessarily or flippantly critical. It occasionally lands him in a beef, and this time it got him on the bad side of the most powerful athlete in American sports.
When Phil called LeBron James’ close-knit group of friends a “posse,” he invoked language that LeBron believes is racially coded.
When a man of LeBron’s stature is willing to go on record saying he’s lost his respect for you, that is a big deal — not just because he’s a smart guy and it probably means you did something wrong, but because such a public smackdown could have effects on how other players see the Knicks executive. After all, if you don’t respect Phil Jackson, you probably wouldn’t want to work for him. Everyone makes their own decisions, but LeBron wields influence.
Phil needs to make this right with an apology sooner rather than later if he wants to save some face. We would add that he should stop sending out random barbs unprompted in the press, but he’s been around long enough for us to give up on that. If you don’t expect an NBA decision-maker to change, that means they’ve probably run their course in the ever-evolving league.