New York Knicks

James Dolan Says He's Just 1 of Many Hated New York Sports Owners

New York Knicks owner James Dolan listens to a question during a news conference for  new team president Phil Jackson, at New York's Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, March 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/Associated Press
Jim CavanContributor IMarch 20, 2014

For the first time in what felt like decades, New York Knicks owner James Dolan used the occasion of Phil Jackson’s hiring as the team’s new president of basketball operations to grant himself a media victory lap of sorts.

But not everyone was interested in merely patting "Guitar Jimmy" on the back.

Asked by ESPN’s Michael Kay (h/t Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy) how he felt about commanding the rival-less ire of New York sports fans, Dolan responded with a mix of acceptance and defiance:

As far as being liked and disliked, I know what my job is. I know what I have to do. I go about doing it, you’re not going to be liked by everybody. If your goal is to be liked by everybody, I don’t think you’re going to do such a good job because you’re going to worry more about that than making the right decisions. I don’t read the papers, and I’m sorry to say I don’t listen to talk radio. Tell me something, tell me the living New York sports owner that everybody loves?

I think you’re missing the point, Jim. It’s not about having everyone love you all the time. It’s about not running an organization so poorly, and with so little concern for financial foresight, that everyone hates you.

Hates you so much, in fact, that fans actually take time out of their days to plan a protest against your ownership. Per ESPN New York’s Ian Begley:

The fan group that has organized the protest -- KF4L (Knicks Fans For Life) -- cites issues with Dolan, the lack of communication from team president/GM Steve Mills and the team's ties to Creative Artists Agency as its main sources of contention.

The protest still went off, in case you were wondering (h/t Posting & Toasting’s Seth Rosenthal):

Clearly there’s a significant subset of fans who believe not even the magical mind powers of the Zen Master himself will be enough to keep Dolan out of his own way.

Which is what happens when you do things like let your general manager, whose name we shall not speak, fork over tens of millions of dollars to Jerome James.

Et cetera, et cetera. Et cetera.

Here’s the thing: So long as the Knicks turn things around, the haters can keep on hating. “My goal isn’t to be loved,” Dolan told Kay. “My goal is to win, and I would love for the fans to be happy. I want them to be happy. I want them to come to the Garden and have a great time.”

OK, that seems like a fair compromise. Heck, maybe after a few more desert dune-buggy trips, Dolan could actually become likeable.

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