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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Knicks draw smallest home crowd in over 13 years after Spike Lee incident

The New York Knicks found a new way to alienate one of their most recognizable supporters this week, and fans may have sent the team a message about the latest public relations disaster on Wednesday night.

Spike Lee unloaded on the Knicks earlier this week after the team confronted him over the entrance he was using at Madison Square Garden before Monday night’s game against the Houston Rockets. The famed director said during an appearance on ESPN that he is done attending games this year, and he kept his word by skipping Wednesday night’s game against the Utah Jazz. Spike wasn’t the only one who bailed, as the Knicks posted their lowest attendance number since December 2006.

The announced crowd on Wednesday night was 16,588. As Brian Mahoney of The Associate Press notes, that was the lowest attendance number for the Knicks since they drew 15,895 fans on Dec. 13, 2006. Madison Square Garden has a capacity of 19,812, so it was only 84 percent filled on Wednesday night.

There are obviously other factors that could lead to low attendance numbers for the Knicks. For starters, they have won just 19 games this year. Although, that excuse doesn’t really fly since they have had plenty of seasons that were just as bad or worse in the past 13 years. Some fans may also be choosing to stay home over coronavirus concerns, but it would not be a surprise if many others are angry over the way Lee was treated.

The Knicks say they asked Lee numerous times to stop using the employee entrance at MSG, and they called it “laughable” that he was painting himself as the victim. Spike claims he was never informed until a security guard confronted him on Monday, but does it really matter?

Lee spends around $300,000 per season on Knicks tickets and has been one of their most passionate supporters. Even if the team felt he was in the wrong, they should have released a statement saying it was a misunderstanding and that Spike is a valued member of the Knicks family. Instead, they chose to risk alienating him the way they did with Charles Oakley. That’s hardly a surprise given the team’s reputation under owner James Dolan, but it may now be costing New York some valuable ticket sales.

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