LeBron James, temporarily abandoning his role as basketball superstar and assuming a role as a social justice warrior, found a new term to be offended by: posse.
During an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, legendary former NBA coach of the Bulls and Lakers and current Knicks president Phil Jackson said the following of James:
It had to hurt when they lost LeBron. 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 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.
He definitely spoke harshly of James, but those personal attacks were not to which James chose to respond. Rather, he was offended by the word posse.
It just sucks that now at this point having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter that’s done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word ‘posse.’
James went on to say, “We see the success that we have, but then there is always someone that lets you know how far we have to go as African-Americans.”
Apparently, referring to a group of people — without mentioning their race — as a ‘posse’ sets race relations back a few years. Also in his response, James challenged people to “go and read what the definition of the word ‘posse’ is.” I did just that; according to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘posse’ is “a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal; group of people who are together for a particular purpose; a group of friends.”
There is clearly nothing about race in any of those definitions.
It truly is mind-boggling that the use of common, race-neutral word “shows how far we have to go as African-Americans,” but Larry Wilmore, for example, referring to President Obama as the n-word at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is meaningless.