Spike Lee done attending Knicks games this season after ‘being harassed by James Dolan’ at MSG; team responds

Legendary movie director and Knicks superfan Spike Lee has been attending games at Madison Square Garden for 28 years. He has seen some truly awful basketball but has remained a constant fixture in the court-side seats of MSG through the team’s ups and downs, always supporting orange and blue. However, after a bizarre dispute before the Knicks’ game against the Houston Rockets Monday night, Lee says he won’t be attending another game this season.

It should’ve been a celebratory night for the Knicks after pulling off a huge upset win over the Rockets in which rookie RJ Barrett had the best game of his young career. Plus earlier in the day, the team named Leon Rose as the president of basketball operations. Before the game even started, though, a video purporting to Lee being denied access to the arena blew up on Twitter.

“No one told me!” Lee is heard yelling over and over. “I’m staying right here! Now if you want to arrest me like Charles Oakley, then go ahead!” 

Lee’s name was trending on Twitter before the game ended, but he was later pictured court side in his usual seats during the game. It was treated as one big misunderstanding by the Knicks, but after an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday morning, Lee said that not only will he not be attending another Knicks game this season, but that he’s being harassed by the team’s owner.

“I’m being harassed by James Dolan, and I don’t know why,” Lee said. “How is it the wrong entrance if I’ve been using the same entrance for 28 years! It’s Garden spin!”

While Lee thinks the press release put out by the Knicks’ PR staff is “Garden spin,” the team issued another statement shortly after his appearance on “First Take,” saying that Lee considering himself the victim in this situation is “laughable.”

“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 agreed to last night when they shook hands.”

Also included in the tweet sent out by Knicks PR was a picture of the media entrance that Lee should not be entering through, as well as a photo of Lee and Dolan appearing to shake hands, which Lee denied to doing earlier this morning.

Lee explained what happened last night at the Knicks game that turned into a viral video on Twitter. The director said that after entering the employee entrance to MSG and getting his ticket scanned, security told him that he had to leave the arena and enter on the other side. Lee said Knicks owner James Dolan approached Lee at halftime saying the two needed to talk, but Lee did not want to hear what he had to say.

The Knicks and Dolan have a history of incidents similar to this one at MSG. As Lee references, they once kicked Charles Oakley out of a game, and last season Dolan banned a fan from MSG for life for telling him to sell the team. Monday night was a perfect example of the Knicks being a dysfunctional franchise. It didn’t matter that the team beat the Rockets behind the strength of Barrett, because the drama going on behind the scenes became the story. The situation is magnified even more since Lee is the most recognizable Knicks fan there and is essentially a free marketing tool for the franchise. 

When “First Take” told Lee that he’s spent nearly $10 million over 30 years of his Knicks fandom — $300,000 per season — Lee jokingly said he “looks stupid” considering the lack of success and the level of dysfunction within the Knicks franchise. Still, though, as long as situations like this continue within the Knicks organization — mainly because of Dolan — this team will continue to be the laughingstock of the league. 

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