Phil Jackson paid a visit to the Los Angeles Lakers practice facility on Wednesday, taking a seat at a table with his former assistant, Kurt Rambis, just as the team was wrapping up and preparing for a flight to Houston.
Rambis, now a senior basketball advisor, is one of multiple ties Jackson still has to the Lakers organization. Jackson’s presence caught head coach Luke Walton by surprise, though he was excited to wrap up his media scrum and go speak with his mentor.
Walton said he’s remained in contact with Jackson and is someone he will seek advice from throughout the course of the season. LeBron James was noticeably absent from the practice floor during the portion media was permitted to observe.
It was unclear if James had crossed paths with Jackson before or after that, but he made it clear the two did not speak, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
LeBron James says he hasn’t had any personal interaction with Phil Jackson since he joined the Lakers.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 13, 2018
The development is only noteworthy in the sense that Jackson described James and his business partners as a “posse” back in 2016. James voiced his disappointment in Jackson’s verbiage, explaining it was offensive to himself and his associates as well the African-American community.
While it may have created for a bit of an uncomfortable scenario, James recently said he was pleased with all aspects of the Lakers organization. Moreover, Jackson, who has a history of needling players, has previously visited the Lakers on numerous occasions, making Wednesday’s appearance all the more natural.