Jay Z gave a subtle, and perfectly timed, response to New York Knicks president Phil Jackson during his speech last night (December 12) introducing LeBron James as Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year.
During the ceremony, which was held at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, Jay Z paid tribute to the three-time NBA champion for his work on and off the court. In addition to praising the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, Jay Z took the time to reference the term "posse," which was a term Jackson previously used to describe LeBron James' business associates during an interview last month. Jackson's usage of the term stirred controversy, upsetting James and business partner Maverick Carter.
James would later respond to the interview to reporters in Cleveland, stating, "I don't believe that Phil Jackson would have used that term if he was doing business with someone else and working with another team or if he was working with anybody in sports that was owning a team that wasn't African-American and had a group of guys around them that didn't agree with what they did... I don’t think he would have called them a posse. But it just shows how far we have to go. But it won't stop us from doing what we need to do as a group."
Fast forward to Monday night, Jay Z critiqued Jackson's use of the word while describing James as "the son who honors and worships his mother, Gloria. The friend who put his posse in position." The crowd laughed when the reference was mentioned.
"We know where we come from. We do understand where we come from," Hov continued. "The only difference between us and someone who has their MBA from Wharton or Sloan or Berkeley or Stanford is opportunity. LeBron James has provided his friends with that opportunity, and we've witnessed their development. And if we're to look up at the scoreboard, very few businessmen are better than Maverick Carter, Rich Paul, Randy Mims and all the rest of the posse behind the scenes that make it look like they're just hanging out."
Jackson previously apologized for the comments, telling CBS Sports Network: "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." The Knicks president also went on the say, "The obvious thing is, the word itself carries connotation. And I just don't understand that, that part of it -- the word. "So I guess word choice could be something I could regret. But talking about other teams' players, that's out of the box."
Jay's full speech can be seen below, starting at the 1:43:20 mark.