MIAMI — LeBron James has nothing to say to Phil Jackson and apparently has no interest in what the Knicks’ president has to say.
James flatly replied “no” when he was asked if he would speak to Jackson Wednesday when Cleveland visits Madison Square Garden.
The Cavaliers superstar apparently is still stinging from Jackson referring to his friends and business partners as a “posse” during an interview last month with ESPN.com. James believes that term is racially insensitive.
Jackson finally addressed the matter in an interview with CBS Sports Network’s “We Need to Talk” that aired Tuesday. He said he wouldn’t seek out James anyway, and that it’s “water under the bridge.”
But Jackson, who hasn’t spoken to reporters covering the Knicks since September, said he probably could have used a better choice of words.
“We are not supposed to discuss other team’s players in this position that I have here. So I violated one of the tenets,” Jackson said. “The obvious thing is, the word itself carries connotation. And I just don’t understand that part of it, the word. So I guess word choice could be something I could regret.”
James and his business associate Maverick Carter have been very outspoken about how offended they were that Jackson called them a posse.
“It’s water under the bridge,” Jackson said. “I don’t think there was anybody hurt or harmed in this situation. I think LeBron’s friend obviously had an issue with it. We just let it go. It’s not enough to talk about it.”
James usually gets up for games at the Garden. He said this episode with Jackson won’t give him any extra motivation Wednesday. That remains to be seen.
“My only mindset is to get our guys ready, get my troops ready and execute the game plan,” James said. “I got a job to do every night and that’s to lead this group, and I’ll do that.”
Jackson has come under fire for many of his comments and decisions since becoming Knicks president but he deserves credit for drafting Kristaps Porzingis. He has been better than anyone expected, and is the present and future of the Knicks.
“He’s a unicorn,” Jackson said. “He’s just a stand-out guy. You don’t see people like this playing basketball with the grace, speed and athleticism that he has, and the ability to shoot the ball as well as he can shoot the ball.
“Kristaps turned out to be that unique player — one that has things you just don’t see on the basketball court. He does things that are unique in almost every game. His size is defining. Defensively he changes the game a little bit. He’s still not a great strength player, post player. Offensively, he’s still learning what he can do.”
Jackson says pot part of NBA culture. Jackson also addressed the use of medicinal marijuana in the NBA after his former player, Steve Kerr admitted to using it to help quell back pain following two different surgeries. Jackson said marijuana is “part of the culture in the NBA.”
“[When I was recovering from back surgery], I was smoking marijuana during that period of time,” Jackson said. “I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever. But I never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation.
“We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA. 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. It is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it.”