LeBron James says he has zero interest in sitting down and chatting with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson when the Cavs head to the Big Apple this week to play the Knicks. James, who has already said he will not be staying in a hotel owned by Donald Trump, is also taking a personal stand against Jackson after the front office exec and former coach spilled the beans about James’ run in Miami.
Jackson was previously interviewed by Jackie MacMullan about the LeBron James era with the Miami Heat and his departure from the franchise to return home to Cleveland. During the interview, Jackson commented on how the Heat handled a request from James to spend a night in Cleveland after the Heat played a game there.
According to Jackson, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra asked Pat Riley for advice on how to handle the situation, to which Riley allegedly replied in part with “You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.” The validity of that exact comment may be in question, but that is how James heard the story told once the interview was published.
James was asked about those comments nearly a month ago, and suggested the “posse” terminology was being used to refer to LeBron’s business partners, so you can imagine he was not happy to hear it worded that way. The term “posse” can carry a somewhat negative tone in today’s world, and James has been a true model citizen for as long as he has been in the public spotlight, it is likely he would like to keep that image intact.
“I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do,” James said in mid-November. “Obviously he was at the helm of [the team featuring] my favorite player of all time [Michael Jordan], and also being there growing up and watching him with the Lakers, but I got nothing for him.”
That sentiment has not changed as the Cavs are making their way into New York to play the Knicks. With the game coming up, the topic has resurfaced, but James is standing firm behind his previous comments.
“For me, I’ve built my career on and off the floor on the utmost respect, and I’ve always given the utmost respect to everyone — all my peers, people that’s laid the path for me and laid the path for coaches, players, things of that nature,” James said this week. James will choose to focus on his game first and foremost. “My only mindset is to get our guys ready and execute the game plan. I got a job to do every night and that’s to lead this group, and I’ll do that.”
Whatever the case may be, the possibility of LeBron James playing for the Knicks may have just become a little bit more of a reach than it ever was before.