With the recent influx of news covering the NBA’s will-they or won’t-they sign free agents, one thing is apparent when it comes to the New York Knicks: James Lawrence Dolan has been one of the worst owners in the NBA for the last 20 years. He is only second to disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who told his mistress to stop bringing black people to his games. That’s the bar.
For the last two decades, Dolan’s New York Knicks have had a 0.418 winning percentage, putting them dead last in the league. General managers change, coaches get fired and players come and go, but Dolan has been the one constant of the Knicks.
In an email exchange with a 73-year-old Knicks fan in 2015, who has been a fan of the team since 1952, Dolan wrote: “I’ll bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe…start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks don’t want you.”
And with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signing in Brooklyn, he might just do it.
We cannot be shocked or surprised about what has happened the past couple of weeks with the Knicks. NBA players are not deaf to the noise and ongoing saga that emanates from a toxic situation at Madison Square Garden. No one wants to work for an egomaniac, who has treated fan favorite former players like Charles Oakley as if they were a child in need of a timeout. Kicking Oakley out of a game and having him arrested just adds more fuel to the already ablaze fiery fan base that has every right to be pissed off.
Dolan has little to no time for those that critique him, especially the media. He recently barred the New York Daily News from attending a press conference introducing the newly drafted R.J. Barrett. The NBA promptly and rightly fined Dolan $50,000 for doing so. Dolan also banned any of his employees from doing any business with WFAN after being ridiculed by radio host Maggie Gray. His humility is king-like.
When paying fans yell at Dolan to sell the team, he does not respond with sincerity and aptitude for the situation. He threatens to banish them from the Mecca as if exile will change their thinking.
But Dolan does have his favorites—those that suck up to him and do not criticize his inept governorship of one of the most iconic franchises in the country. He has stayed close to Isiah Thomas after firing him as general manager and head coach, even after Thomas was accused of sexually harassing a former Knicks executive, Anucha Browne-Sanders, who sued the Madison Square Garden Company, Dolan and Thomas. Browne-Sanders won the suit, but Dolan had moved on to hire Thomas as president of the New York Liberty in 2015, his WNBA team at the time.
The mere fact that there are not Knicks fans protesting outside The Garden every day for Dolan to sell the team is the work of magic. He has made this fan base so tired and worn out from his antics such as playing his guitar on the plane to his team after a loss and going on the radio in March to pronounce his belief that star players are coming to New York this summer in free agency.
They did come to New York; they went to Brooklyn. What the Brooklyn Nets have done in three years, Dolan’s Knicks have been trying to do for the last 20–bring star players to the basketball capital of the world.
Dolan has lost out on a whole generation of Knicks fans that have never seen their team make a conference finals or have been able to string together multiple successful seasons. The highlight of a young Knicks fan’s fandom is three weeks of Linsanity. That’s it.
The Fredo Corleone of the Dolan family has got to go. The New York Knicks have lost their luster to their little brother and they are no longer the iconic franchise they once led all of us to believe.
Sell the team, Mr. Dolan, it’s time to let go.
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