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Put Some Respect on LeBron James' Name, Business Associates

by Todd A. Smith

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T


People rarely say things that they do not mean, even if it appears that they are joking.


I once heard a White guy jokingly state that if you wanted to starve a nigger, hide his wallet under his work boots.


This White guy considered himself down and considered the aforementioned statement a joke.  However, in order for that to be funny to him he must have believed in the stereotype that Blacks were lazy, despite how cool he thought he was.


Likewise, New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson might have thought he was being cool, when he referred to Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James’ business associates and friends as his posse.  

 

But using that word to describe Black people, and not White people, might prove that Jackson does not take young Black businessmen seriously.


If he took young Black 30-somethings seriously, he would not have been so flippant and dismissive when describing them.


In an interview with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, Jackson said: “When LeBron was playing with the (Miami) 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 (general manager 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.”


The very use of the term posse, which to the hip-hop generation insinuates a crowd of hangers-on sometimes of a criminal element, is very offensive.


Following the NBA since the 1980s, I do not remember Larry Bird or John Stockton’s business partners ever being referred to as a posse.


Furthermore, the hate that James and other NBA stars of this generation have received from some in the White community for maximizing their business power, shows that some in White America still have a problem with Black millionaires and billionaires calling their own shots and not being submissive to the dominant culture.


As evident with the venom aimed at Black athletes protesting the national anthem in the NFL, there is still a segment of the White community that believes that Blacks are just here for their entertainment purposes, and should be thankful for what the White community “gives” them.


For some, they should just shut up and play, and be the million dollar slaves that journalist Bill Rhoden once wrote about.


Therefore, no matter how many Black superstars Jackson has coached like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, or how much swag Black America thinks he has, a person’s true feelings about someone else eventually comes out, no matter how much of a joke they think it is.


James stated that the posse comments made by Jackson made him lose respect for the 10-time NBA championship coach and rightfully so.

 

If Jackson, or anyone else, cannot respect his business manager, entertainment agent and sports agent because they are young Black men, then they do not deserve the respect of anyone from the Black community.

This article was published on Friday 18 November, 2016.
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