No fan in sports history ever loved their team the way Spike Lee loved the Knicks. He repped them, he defended them, he backed them through the long-ago high times and the ever-present low times.
So naturally, the Knicks, being the Knicks, screwed it all up.
The details: Monday night, Lee was apparently blocked from getting to his customary courtside seat — you know, the one he’s heckled three decades’ worth of NBA royalty from. According to both him and the Knicks, he was told that he had to enter through a different entrance than the one he’s come through for the last 28 years of being a season ticket holder. Still, tempers flared, words were exchanged, and even though Lee eventually made it to his seat, the story didn’t end there.
On Tuesday, the Knicks issued a statement so impossibly tone-deaf and misguided that I have to reprint it here in its entirety:
“The idea that Spike Lee is a victim because we have repeatedly asked him to not use our employee entrance and instead use a dedicated VIP entrance — which is used by every other celebrity who enters The Garden — is laughable. It’s disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama. He is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; just not through our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim [Dolan, Knicks owner] agreed to last night when they shook hands.”
New York Knicks Statement on Spike Lee pic.twitter.com/19JcvhFKO7
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 3, 2020
Laughable. This is your greatest fan, who still cares enough to show up and sport the colors of your misbegotten organization, and you’re calling his concerns laughable. Spike Lee shouldn’t have to use a specific entrance to the Garden. Spike Lee should use ANY ENTRANCE HE WANTS. Hell, the Knicks ought to send a private subway car for him and a red carpet right out to center court. He’s your greatest ambassador, he deserves royal treatment.
It’s not like the Knicks have a deep well of goodwill to draw on. They've been more terrible than good since 2001. They haven’t reached the playoffs since 2013, haven’t gotten out of the second round in this millennium.
Under Dolan, the Knicks have systematically offended, alienated or run off almost everyone who ever loved this team. They’ve shown incompetence on the court and in the front office, and they’re about two generations behind the rest of the NBA as a result. The depraved court of King Louis XVI in the weeks before the French Revolution didn’t coast on its past achievements this much.
And now, they’ve gone and ticked off Spike Lee, who has, by ESPN’s reckoning, spent almost $10 million — $10 million! — on season tickets over the course of his fandom. Sure, the Knicks probably blew that money on a journeyman seven-footer with graham-cracker knees, but still — $10 million!
When told of that total, Lee laughed and responded, “I look stupid now.”
Not nearly as stupid as the team you gave it to, Spike.
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