Jay Z took a shot at Hall of Fame coach and current New York Knicks president Phil Jackson during his speech introducing LeBron James as the Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.
“We know where we come from. We do understand where we come from,” Jay Z said in a speech he read from his phone. “The only difference between us and someone who has their MBA from Wharton or Sloan or Berkeley or Stanford is opportunity. LeBron James has provided his friends with that opportunity, and we’ve witnessed their development. And if we’re to 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 hanging out.”
The rapper also took his opportunity to talk about what, exactly, makes the greatest basketball player on the planet a person worthy of a title like Sportsperson of the Year besides leading his team to an improbable victory against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals after being down three games to one. He called James a “dedicated family man who married his childhood sweetheart,” as well as a son who “honors and worships his mother.”
But the jab at Jackson, who recently said in an interview about James, “You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland,” in an interview with ESPN, especially stood out. James took offense to that specific term, replying in an interview, “It just sucks that now at this point, having one of the biggest businesses you can have on and off the floor and having a certified agent in Rich Paul and Maverick Carter, that’s done so many great business things, the title for African-Americans is the word ‘posse.'”
Jackson recently said in an interview with CBS that he regretted talking about a player on another team, but never said whether or not he felt any remorse over using the term “posse,” which some consider racially insensitive.
“The obvious thing is the word itself carries connotation. And I just don’t understand that, that part of it – the word. So I guess word choice could be something I could regret,” he said.