So, by now most of you have seen… or heard about… or both the falderal between Knicks’ fan Spike Lee and MSG.

And within the Belly Up Crew, there are differing opinions. Well, if I’m being honest, there’s mostly one opinion and then there’s Zach. But that’s beside the point. My question is, how does an organization like the New York freaking Knicks still have no concept of optics? It’s 2020, people! There’s a video camera in virtually everyone’s hand at all times in New York City!

Was Spike trying to come into an employee entrance? Yes, yes he was. But it’s an entrance he’s been using without a problem for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS!

To put that into perspective, 28 years ago:
  • “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men was the number one single on the Billboard Top 100
  • Disney’s Aladdin was the number one movie. That year we were also blessed with Lethal Weapon 3, A Few Good Men, The Bodyguard, and A League of Their Own
  • The Silence of the Lambs won the Academy Award for Best Picture and a BUNCH of other stuff
  • The Chicago Bulls were in the middle of their first three-peat
  • A gallon of gas in the US was $1.05
  • The average price of a new car was $16,950
  • NAFTA
  • Hurricane Andrew
  • John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison
  • The Mall of America opened

You get the idea, right? 28 years is a long-ass time to do the same thing the same way hundreds and hundreds of times and then be told you can’t do it that way any more with no notice or warning. Although I’ve seen it said that it was Lee that behaved like a child, I’m inclined to put the blame at the feet of MSG. Whether Dolan was directly involved in the decision or not doesn’t even matter to me at this point.

Knicks’ Fan Spike Lee: “Nobody Told Me”

Image result for knicks spike lee
Long-time Knicks’ fan Spike Lee is rightfully upset by his treatment by MSG

First of all, who should be expected to behave more professionally? A producer, director, writer, actor, and long-time fan whose movies are referred to as ‘Joints’? Or the representatives of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate whose entire existence is based on dealing with every kind of people every day? The lack of professionalism on the part of MSG started before Lee ever showed up for the game last night. Someone should have had the wherewithal to give the man a dang heads up. How hard would that have been?

*Ring Ring Ring*

“Spike here.”

“Hey Spike! This is (whoever is in charge of public relations from the Knicks’ organization). I know you’re a busy man so I won’t take up much of our time. We’re so grateful for your continued patronage over the years. We know it’s been a rough go. We’re really confident we’ll be able to turn that around with Leon coming on as President.

Speaking of changes, we’ve made a couple in terms of policy. We’ve had to make the decision to limit the coming and going from the entrance you usually use to MSG employees only. We’re really sorry for the inconvenience.”

“Cool.”

*Beep*

But no! In true New York Knicks fashion, no one thought to give the man a heads up. This is like if a wife made the same Friday dinner every week for 28 years. Then one Friday with no warning, out of the clear blue sky, her husband blows up.

“I’VE NEVER LIKED YOUR DAMN MEATLOAF AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS FOR ANOTHER DAMN DAY!”

And then true-crime style stabs her with his steak knife. (In his defence, if meatloaf needs a steak knife, it’s probably pretty terrible.) Okay, too much hyperbole? Yeah, you’re probably right. But the point is there. And as you can hear Spike saying in the video, “Nobody told me.” I really can’t blame the guy for being upset, considering.

Optics

The bottom line is, how many public feuds and problems that make them look terrible (facts, blame, etc. aside) does one organization have to have before they figure. It Out? Isiah Thomas and the sexual harassment trial which they lost. The incident with Charles Oakley. And those are just the highlights. Do a Google search for James Dolan feuds, go ‘head, I’ll wait.

It doesn’t matter who was right, wrong, indifferent. What matters is that the Knicks’ bad reputation is always going to leave them looking the worst in these situations. Even if you believe Charles Oakley losing the lawsuit was the right call. Even if you believe Spike Lee acted childishly, the bottom line is, it’s the Knicks organization that needs to be concerned with the optics. That’s just reality.

Today, press around the Knicks should be focused on their new President. Instead, the Knicks’ fan Spike Lee’s treatment is another fire to try to put out. The Knicks have once again established themselves as the worst organization in the NBA and possibly all of sports.

The Proverbial Camel

In closing, I want to be clear about one thing. Spike Lee is not boycotting the Knicks over this one incident having to do with where he’s allowed to come and go. Last night’s incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back. For years, he’s continued to show up to watch the team he loves be absolute trash. On his appearance on First Take, you get a feeling for how much the Knicks mean to Lee. They’re tied to happy childhood memories with his Father. That shit runs deep.

Getting his hopes up over and over. Coach after coach. Executive after executive. Melo. James. Durant and Irving. All pipedreams at best and delusions at worst. But still he came. Still he hoped. Maybe he still even believed.

Lee’s being done with the Knicks is not about last night. It’s about the last 20 years of last nights.

Follow me on Twitter @auxiliarythings for random basketball musings and live tweets during NBA games and check out my weekly NBA podcast Hardcourt Hunnies. Can’t get enough NBA? The Belly Up Hoops team’s got you covered.

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Jade "Auxiliary Things" Johnson

Jamaican born, Canadian raised lover of NBA basketball. Growing up a basketball fan in hockey nation was... lonely at times. What can I say? I like what I like.

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