Jay Z Throws In Subtle Dig at Phil Jackson's 'Posse' Comments During Speech Honoring LeBron James

LeBron James and Jay Z
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

LeBron James and Jay Z pose onstage with an award during the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony 2016 at Barclays Center on Dec. 12, 2016 in New York City.

Last month, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson received criticism from LeBron James supporters when the executive referred to the Cleveland Cavaliers star's friends as a "posse." After being crowned Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year on Monday night (Dec. 12), James received support from his longtime friend Jay Z, who delivered a speech honoring No. 23.

"We know where we come from," said Jay at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. "We do understand where we come from, and 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 as we witness their development, and if we're looking 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."

In addition to his subtle jab at Jackson, Jay Z squeezed in some more love for the four-time NBA MVP by saying, "The man LeBron James is even better than the basketball player LeBron James." He even quipped about James' ethereal play on the court by notching a "triple double in real life."

In 2008, Jay Z also came to James' defense when former Wizards player DeShawn Stevenson threw shots at the Akron native. He freestyled over Too Short's "Blow the Whistle" and rapped, "Another hundred fifty million don't it sound like we yellin?!/Who the f--k overrated?! If anything they underpaid him."

Watch Jay Z's speech at the 1:43:30 mark below:


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.