Although fans of the Miami Marlins, Cleveland Browns and Phoenix Suns might beg to argue, there’s been nothing quite as frustrating over the last 20 years than rooting for the New York Knicks.
The Knicks haven’t been the playoffs or finished better than .500 since 2012-13. They’ve won only one playoff series since going to the Eastern Conference finals in 1999-2000. And they haven’t won a championship since 1972-73.
Since Jeff Van Gundy left 19 games into the 2001-02 season, the Knicks have had 10 coaches – Don Chaney, Herb Williams, Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas, Mike D’Antonio, Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Jeff Hornacek and David Fizdale.
Keep in mind, the San Antonio Spurs have had one coach, Gregg Popovich, since midway through the 1996-97 season.
This season, the Knicks are 13-59. They suffered through an 18-game home winless streak famously snapped on the day of the Academy Awards, instigating an impromptu exchange during the ceremony between Samuel L. Jackson and Knicks “Super Fan’ director Spike Lee.
All this time, while the Knicks have been searching for stability and a franchise player, most of the acrimony has been directed at team owner James Dolan, who took over as CEO of MSG, the Knicks and NHL’s New York Rangers in 1999.
The Rangers have enjoyed some success, but Knicks fans view him as something of a knucklehead, uncaring and detached, illogical and incapable of making solid business decisions.
Dolan attends most Knicks games and sits in full view. And on Saturday at MSG, an unidentified fan decided to tell him how he felt about things. The boss did not appreciate it.
In fact, Dolan asked security to detain the guy who begged him to sell the team after the Knicks lost to the Sacramento Kings. The defeat was the fifth straight for the Knicks, who will have a great shot at winning one thing – the lottery for the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Here’s what happened: Dolan was headed to an exit when the guy yelled at him. The billionaire stopped in his tracks and told the fan, “So you think I should sell the team?” Dolan then gestured to the fan, inviting him to come closer.
Dolan then snapped: “You want to not come to any more games?” Dolan said, adding that he thought the fan was being rude.
When the fan replied that he was only offering an opinion, Dolan said, “No, it’s not an opinion. And you know what, enjoy watching them on TV.”
At that point, Dolan pointed at the fan and alerted security. Security then held the fan and, according to video obtained by TMZ, subjected him to police questioning before being asked to leave the building.
In many cases when a fan is determined to be unruly, the team has the right to ban them from attending other games. There is no indication that was the case in this instance. But MSG does have a rule: “Our policy is and will continue to be that if you are disrespectful to anyone in our venues, we will ask you not to return.”
The thing is, eyewitnesses have claimed the fan was not rude to Dolan, that he never raised his voice in a confrontational or threatening way. Still, Dolan decided to make an example of the guy.
In April 2017, a lawyer, Mike Hamersky, had it out with Dolan and since has been unable to renew his partial season-ticket plan. The New York Post reached out to him on Sunday and was told there has been no change in his case.
This is why Knicks fans can’t stand Dolan, the son of cable giant Charles Dolan, who originally bought MSG. They view Jimmy as a spoiled rich kid incapable of thinking for himself.
And you’ll recall MSG doesn’t just swoop down on fans. It has even banned one of their former stars, Charles Oakley, from returning after a confrontation with Dolan in February 2016. The difference here was Oakley was arrested, but his case was soon dismissed. Still, it resulted in a lawsuit.
What makes Dolan seem like more of an imbecile is he has already admitted he might be interested in selling the team. Dolan told ESPN in December that he received a $5 billion “feeler” from someone, but no true offer.
“I love the Knicks and Rangers, right, but you still have a responsibility to your shareholders,” Dolan said in the interview. “They’re not there because they’re fans. You don’t invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a stock because you’re a fan. You do it because you think that the business is going to increase in value, that the stock price is going to go up. You have a responsibility as the guy who runs the place to deliver on that for them, that’s being open and transparent. And so in that position, I could never say that I wouldn’t consider selling the Knicks.
“As a majority owner, I don’t want to sell, either. As the head of the public company, you can’t say you can’t sell, because then you’re telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won’t invest with you if you do that.”
At the NBA All-Star Game, there were other reports Dolan was indeed courting offers for the Garden. MSG denied those stories. Dolan has already divested himself of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, who played in MSG in the summertime until the 2018 season when they were limited to just a handful of dates.
Dolan has many other interests, most of the serious ones involving music. He and business partner Irving Azoff are building and renovating entertaining venues around the globe and its possible Dolan someday soon might want to focus entirely on that.
Knicks fans hope that will be sooner other than later.