Spike Lee went on ESPN yesterday and ranted about how, for the first time in over twenty years, he was not permitted to use the employee entrance to enter Madison Square Garden to watch his beloved Knicks play basketball. Spike went as far as to say he's being "harassed" by Knicks owner Jim Dolan.

In the past twenty years, there have only been three constants in the New York Knicks universe: Jim Dolan, Spike Lee and failure.

The Knicks are unquestionably the most embarrassing, dysfunctional failure of an organization in all of pro sports. There was a time, not all that long ago, a case could have been made for other teams, but that time has passed. The Knicks stand alone in poor decision making and losing, both on and off the court.

As for this incident, everyone is wrong here. Spike comes off as a crybaby, celebrity who's trying to be where he does not belong, and bitching when he gets called on it. Dolan's failure (this time) is mismanaging his relationship with Spike. The fact is that the NBA is a celebrity-driven sport for better or for worse. The players dictate free agent movement in the sport today and the power rankings in the league can change on a whim.

A top level player can get together with his buddies and decide to take "their talents" to a certain city and restructure the pecking order in the league overnight. These player decisions have tons of factors like climate, state taxes, and which of their free agent friends they would like to play with.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that celebrity does not factor in to these league-transforming decisions, because it does. Today's players are building their own brands, want to be seen in the right company and want to know that stars are in attendance. Jim Dolan has failed to realize this. He does not make these relationships a priority and can't even manage to play nice with his respected alumni like Charles Oakley.

Today's players are image savvy and Jim Dolan has made Madison Square Garden an unattractive place to play. It's been said so many times by so many people -- New York is the Mecca of basketball and for the last two decades, the NBA's top players want nothing to do with playing there and it's because of Jim Dolan.

You only need to look at how the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers treat their celebrity fans and alumni to know that there is value to those relationships. The New York Knicks will be bad for as long as Jim Dolan owns the team.

*Footnotes of value:

  • I don't like the Knicks at all but I believe the league is more appealing when they are competitive.
  • Everything I said about the importance of celebrity in today's game, I believe to be true. I also think it's terrible and wish it did not contribute to how decisions are made.
  • The NBA has a huge problem with the players grouping up in free agency and transforming the league (hot take).
  • The play in the NBA is atrocious and not at all appealing to me. I don't like teams launching 40 three pointers a game. I don't like that the center position has evaporated, the officiating makes physical play impossible and I hate that teams don't play defense. I grew up watching teams like the 90s Knicks and the 90s Pistons (Bad Boys) really getting after one another. The young fans don't know what they are missing with defense being gone. The game had a much different aesthetic to it, and a superior one at that.

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