Spike Lee Says 'I'm Being Harassed by James Dolan,' Won't Attend Remaining Games

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 2: Celebrity, Spike Lee, attends a game between the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks on March 2, 2020 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Film director and New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee discussed an apparent issue with Knicks owner James Dolan during an appearance Tuesday on ESPN's First Take.

During the interview, Lee said, "I'm being harassed by James Dolan. I don't know why."

ESPN @espn

Spike Lee joined @firsttake to explain last night's incident at MSG. https://t.co/xsjGHApDqH

His comments came after video surfaced of Lee seemingly being denied entry into Madison Square Garden ahead of Monday's game between the Knicks and Houston Rockets (note: contains language NSFW):

BroTalkLive @BroTalkLivePod

Director Spike Lee denied entry to MSG. Rumors are circulating that MSG CEO James Dolan didn’t want the famed director to enter. #SpikeLee #MSG https://t.co/0gZVaHDXBP

That led to speculation Dolan was trying to keep Lee out, but Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press later reported that there was simply a disagreement over which entrance Lee could use and that he wasn't being prevented from attending the game.

The 62-year-old Lee ultimately sat in his normal courtside seat and saw the Knicks upset the Rockets 125-123.

Lee said he took issue with the fact MSG security asked him to leave the arena and use a different entrance after his ticket was already scanned. He also said Dolan wanted to have a conversation with him, but Lee refused.

As a result of Monday's incident, Lee said he is "done for the season" and will not attend another Knicks game for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.

ESPN @espn

Spike Lee's response when finding out he spends roughly $300K a year on Knicks tickets and has given them almost $10M over 30 years: "I look stupid now." https://t.co/hmuMJttA4u

First Take @FirstTake

"Not this year ... I'm done." You won't see Spike Lee at another Knicks game this season, according to him. https://t.co/jdcNLBeopC

The Knicks released the following statement claiming that Lee was merely asked to use the VIP entrance rather than the employee entrance on multiple occasions and that he agreed to do so during a conversation with Dolan on Monday:

NY_KnicksPR @NY_KnicksPR

New York Knicks Statement on Spike Lee https://t.co/19JcvhFKO7

The Lee incident occurred just over three years after former Knicks player Charles Oakley was escorted out of Madison Square Garden and then arrested on three counts of third-degree assault.

Dolan then banned Oakley from MSG, but the ban was eventually lifted. Oakley has been permitted to enter MSG since 2018 but has chosen not to.

The past several seasons have been a struggle for the Knicks and their fans. Even with Monday's win, New York is just 19-42 this season, which is the fifth-worst record in the NBA.

New York has not reached the playoffs since 2013, and with recent first-round picks Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox II and RJ Barrett having yet to show superstar potential, there is no end in sight to the Knicks' run of misery.

The issue between Lee and the Knicks on Monday may have been a fitting microcosm for the manner in which the team has mismanaged situations over the past several years.