Phil Jackson: Discussing another team's player 'out of the box'

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Knicks president Phil Jackson says he made a mistake in talking about another team's player when he made comments about LeBron James last month that included the word "posse" in describing the Cavaliers star's business associates.

"That's a topic I'm not going to discuss because one, we are not supposed to discuss other teams' players in this position that I have here. So I violated one of the tenets of our thing," Jackson said in an interview on the CBS Sports Network that aired Tuesday.

"The obvious thing is, the word itself carries connotation. And I just don't understand that, that part of it -- the word," Jackson added. "So I guess word choice could be something I could regret. But talking about other teams' players, that's out of the box."

James and business partner Maverick Carter slammed Jackson last month for what they perceived was an intended slight by the 11-time championship coach when he retold a story about James' days with the Miami Heat in an interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan.

James said on Monday that he has no interest in meeting with Jackson while the Cavaliers are in New York to play the Knicks on Wednesday night.

Jackson also didn't feel the need to address the issue with James.

"No. It's water under the bridge," he said. "I don't think there was anybody hurt or harmed in this situation. I think LeBron's friend [Carter] obviously had an issue with it. We just let it go. It's not enough to talk about it."

Jackson used the term "posse" to describe James' business associates when discussing James' leaving the Miami Heat in free agency.

"It had to hurt when they lost LeBron," Jackson said. "That was definitely a slap in the face. But there were a lot of little things that came out of that. When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland, and he wanted to spend the night. They don't do overnights. Teams just don't. So now [coach Erik] Spoelstra has to text [Pat] Riley and say, 'What do I do in this situation?' And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers: 'You are on the plane. You are with this team.' You can't hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.

"I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way."

Jackson was also asked during the CBS Sports Network interview about Golden State coach Steve Kerr's use of medicinal marijuana to recover from back surgery. He said he used marijuana during his own recovery from back surgery.

"The year that I was off I was smoking marijuana during that period of time. I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever," Jackson said. "But I never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation."

Jackson said marijuana was "something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it."

"We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA," Jackson said. "I don't think we have been able to stop it. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA."

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