When Charles Oakley had it out with Garden security at the behest of owner James Dolan a few years ago and was yoked up and physically escorted from his seat at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks owner in the eyes of many people, crossed a line he could not return from.
Oakley was a beloved Knicks legend and a reminder of the last era of elite Knicks success, in the mid-90s. The last 25 years have been torture on the court and under the leadership of James Dolan, who continues to burn bridges with the very fans who have unconditionally supported him through the worst era in New York Knicks history.
Now, believe it or not, Dolan and the Knicks organization has managed to alienate the No. 1 Knicks fan and rider in the world, distinguished filmmaker Spike Lee.
Lee appeared on ESPN’s First Take today to explain his version of an altercation he had with Knicks security while trying to get into the stadium for the Knicks 125-123 win over the red hot Houston Rockets on Monday night. Also to let everyone know that “I’m done for the season: attending Knicks home games.”
For a man that has spent reportedly $10 million on Knicks tickets over the years to say he’s not going to any more games is further indication that the Knicks have some dysfunction and in the words of Stephen A. Smith, “the petulance of James Dolan” has hindered the basketball operations.
In a clip that has since gone viral, Lee can be heard yelling at Garden security, saying “no one told me and asking them if “you want to “arrest me like Oakley?”
— BroTalkLive (@BroTalkLivePod) March 3, 2020
It was another ugly incident and an apparent power flex for an owner who obviously has pockets that are too deep to ever relinquish any of his absolute power, and it seems he likes to exercise it on anyone who thinks they are bigger than him.
It just gets worse and worse for the Knicks. People such as myself try to argue that the owner doesn’t matter when free agents decide whether or not to join the Knicks, but Kevin Durant And Kyrie Irving proved that belief was false when they chose Brooklyn. The bad press, conflicts with fans and former legends, failing front offices and floundering squads have piled up and prospective superstars don’t want to be a part of that.
The perception these things give off, hurt the franchise more than anything. Nobody is asking Dolan to bow down to anybody. We know he’s the King of MSG. You have to believe he wants to win. His ego is just so big that if he is not respected or acknowledged to his liking he will make an example of you. PR goes out of the window.
The way Spike was treated is probably going to be the last straw for a lot of the diehard fans. The guy who has been a part of some of the most memorable moments in Knicks history and been one of the franchise’s most loyal fans is now another person who was made to feel unwelcome at Madison Square Garden.