What’s In A Word?

LeBron James took offense to the word “posse” being used by legendary head coach, and now New York Knicks GM Phil Jackson. Is it really that big of a deal? Short answer: Yes

But let’s dig a bit deeper into this. Early in LeBron’s career, Phil Jackson also made indirect reference to James and his “posse” as people who will fetch cars and girls, and ultimately lead to his demise. That hasn’t happened. And if there’s anything that should be known about LeBron James; his memory is not short.

Two words stand out to me in the first statement: posse & fetch. Rarely do you hear the word fetch used when regarding humans. It’s generally used in reference to a dog, who blindly chases after something out of it’s loyalty to an owner. That’s one of the last words I would want used when referencing my friend’s and family, especially when we’ve done nothing to incite such criticism. Posse seems pretty harmless right? When you’re referencing the dictionary to get an understanding of the word, I can completely agree with you. But if that were the case, there would be absolutely no need to be offended by the word nigger either. Look up the definition of both nigger and posse. Neither reference race. But when a word is used by an individual in a context that could be described as demeaning, definitions don’t mean much.

Given the current state of our society when it comes to race relations, some can say that this is sensitive. I disagree. People will only do what you allow. If a stance isn’t taken on this type of treatment, regardless of the intent, it will continue. People will view the stance as “pulling the race card,” which couldn’t be any further than the truth. Black has never been, and never will be an advantage in America. Regardless of LeBron James’ salary, position of influence, global success, and impact on society, there are some who will never view him as anything other than a black man. That alone is a disadvantage.

Now, as we look at the latest incident, in relation to the previous incident, Phil Jackson continues to use the term posse when referencing those closest to James. Last time I checked, Rich Paul was not only an agent for LeBron James, but John Wall, Ben Simmons, and Eric Bledsoe among others. He was trained by Leon Rose at CAA. And Maverick Carter is the business manager for James’, and 1/4 of LRMR, the sports-marketing company that secured partial stake in Liverpool F.C., who got his start as a field representative with Nike while in college. These men, no longer boys, should not be disrespected by being called a posse. These are businessmen, and should be respected as such.

I won’t call Phil Jackson a racist, but I will say that he has blatantly and unnecessarily disrespected James on multiple occasions, and needs to be called out on his behavior. His status as an 11-time NBA Champion head coach, mastermind of the triangle offense, NBA Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest coaches in history, should not grant him a pass on this one.


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