Spike Lee is throwing in the towel. The Hollywood celeb longtime New York Knicks superfan – he’s stuck with the team for the past 28 years – has decided to call it quits and won’t be attending any more games this season. It all appears to boil down to a temper tantrum thrown after he wasn’t allowed to use a particular entrance to Madison Square Garden (MSG), but Lee says the problem goes much further than that.
Spike Lee – True Knicks Superfan
The Knicks have had their good years and their bad ones, but Lee has been there through thick and thin, ready to support his NBA team, like a true fan, no matter what type of season it is having. This has now changed following a game between the Knicks and the Houston Rockets that played out at MSG last night, a game that should have been cause for a celebration.
While the Knicks beat the Rockets, the performance paled in comparison to the performance by superfan Spike Lee before players even hit the court. Every story has two versions, and Lee’s version is that, upon trying to enter MSG through an entrance designed for the media, which he says he has used for years, he was turned away. Security suggested that he exit the arena and enter through a VIP entrance more suited to a man of his stature. However, even more hurtful to Lee’s ego, was the fact that Knicks CEO James Dolan apparently didn’t want him there at all.
Lee obviously got in, since he was seen during the game in his usual spot by the court. He was happy to post about the incident on Twitter, which is always a good place to go if you want to stir up trouble. The Knicks tried to downplay the incident, even posting a picture of the entrance they would have preferred Lee use along with a picture of the director shaking hands with Dolan – his mortal enemy. Lee denied the photo op had taken place.
In order to try to figure out what really happened, Lee was invited to appear on ESPN’s First Take, where he continued his diatribe against the Knicks and Dolan, going so far as to assert that the executive is harassing him. He added, “How is it the wrong entrance if I’ve been using the same entrance for 28 years! It’s Garden spin!”
Lee’s Claims “Laughable”
MSG was forced to respond to the comments in order to try to protect its image, calling Lee’s claims that he was the victim “laughable.” It explained, “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.”
Lee knows drama and he has used it a number of times in the past to keep himself in the limelight. He once sued a TV channel – Spike TV – for including “Spike” in its name, arguing that he was the only true Spike. He won the case.
Still, Lee is a recognizable name and a recognizable face. He’s great – and free – marketing for the Knicks. He has also spent $10 million ($300,000 per season for ten years) supporting the team. Despite Dolan’s constant attempts to show everyone who’s the boss (hint: he thinks its himself), perhaps he should recognize where the real power to propel a team to higher value originates (another hint: it’s never a team owner).