- New York Knicks owner James Dolan threatened to ban a fan who told him to sell the team on Saturday, saying he could “enjoy watching [the Knicks] on TV.”
- Dolan was immediately criticized for his comments, by both fans and basketball writers.
- New York state senator Brad Hoylman also got involved, suggesting that the property tax exemptions Dolan receives should be reconsidered.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan was roasted over the weekend after threatening to ban a fan who told him to sell the team.
The fracas took place on Saturday after the Knicks’ loss to the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden. The loss dropped the team to 13-53 on the season — the worst record in the NBA.
As Dolan exited through the tunnel, a fan heckled him, imploring him to sell the franchise. Dolan smirked in response. “Do you really want me to sell the team?” Dolan asked, motioning for the fan to come closer to him.
“Do you not want to come to any more games?” Dolan said. The fan said it was only an opinion. “No, it’s not an opinion,” Dolan replied. “You know what? Enjoy watching ’em on TV.”
Dolan then sent security to confront the fan and take his information.
You can watch the scene play out below.
Dolan was criticized immediately by fans and writers alike.
MSG after James Dolan boots out all the fans that think he should sell the team. pic.twitter.com/AiRrDunboT
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) March 11, 2019
James Dolan is to bad sports owners what Mike Trout is to good baseball players. No one else is even close. https://t.co/kwRO7wdp2L
— Ted Berg (@OGTedBerg) March 10, 2019
Knicks owner James Dolan got upset after a fan yelled ‘sell the team.’ But rather than just keep on walking, Dolan got the guy kicked out of MSG. Imagine being that thin-skinned. Dolan really does need to sell the team. Any other owner would be better.
— Conor McCormick (@ConorMichael28) March 9, 2019
James Dolan is the worst owner in all of sports. So thin skinned. And not so bright. https://t.co/PbGpc3IXqO
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) March 9, 2019
Dolan was hit especially hard by the local papers, with Stefan Bondy at the New York Daily News giving a tough take on the Knicks’ notoriously thin-skinned owner.
“Within the last year, James Dolan has barred MSG employees and players from speaking on WFAN and excluded the Daily News from press events,” Bondy wrote. “The reason? The owner of the worst NBA team since 2001 didn’t like being criticized. It’s as if Dolan takes his cues from the President of the United States, both in his media policies and tax avoidance. Perhaps not coincidentally, Dolan’s a big Donald Trump supporter and donor.”
Dolan even raised the ire of state senator Brad Hoylman, who suggested that the property tax exemptions Dolan receives should be reconsidered if he continued to treat the arena as “his private stadium.”
Madison Square Garden gets over $40M/year in property tax breaks. If James Dolan wants to treat it as his private stadium & ban fans for merely suggesting he sell a team, then perhaps Albany should take his lead—and redirect those public dollars to Penn Station’s MTA facilities. https://t.co/yw46xPUvWt
— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) March 11, 2019
Seeing as Dolan would likely prefer to hold on to those $40 million annual property tax breaks, it might be best that he tread lightly the next time he decides to respond so directly to the criticism of his customers.