Spike Lee unloads on Knicks over incident involving which entrance he used
Rumors that Spike Lee had been banned from Madison Square Garden popped up on social media Monday night and were quickly squashed, but the famed film director says the incident was far more than just a simple misunderstanding over which entrance he had used to enter the arena.
A video on Twitter claimed to show Lee yelling “Nobody told me!” and making a reference to Charles Oakley, but Spike was later seen in his usual courtside seat. Reporters said the dispute was over Lee trying to enter Madison Square Garden using an employee entrance. Lee confirmed that was the case in an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday morning, but he said he has been using the same entrance for nearly three decades and did not appreciate the way the Knicks went about confronting him.
— ESPN (@espn) March 3, 2020
“The security guy, this comes from the top, he says, ‘Mr. Lee, you have to leave Madison Square Garden,'” Lee explained. “They wanted me to leave the Garden, walk outside the 33rd Street employee entrance where I came from and come back on 31st street. I’m not doing that.”
Lee explained that he had already scanned his ticket to the event and knew you cannot scan a ticket twice. He said he didn’t trust that he would be allowed access back into the Garden once he left. Lee then told security he wasn’t leaving and put his hands behind his back and said, “Arrest me like my brother, Charles Oakley.” He was then taken to his seat another way by a security staffer with whom he is friendly.
“They’ve never said when (this policy) changed, so why not call me?” Lee said. “When my deposit’s due — with the astronomical price of Knicks tickets — and I’m one day late, my phone is ringing off the hook.”
At halftime, Lee says Knicks owner James Dolan came up to him and asked to speak with him. He told Dolan there was nothing to talk about. Lee also said he just used the same entrance at an MSG event last Wednesday, when 18,000 public school students got to see Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Spike added that he has been “coming through this entrance for 28 years.” He called the press release issued by the Knicks — which said Lee and Dolan were laughing together and shook hands — more “Garden spin” and said he is being harassed by Dolan.
"I'm being harassed by James Dolan and I don't know why."
—Spike Lee pic.twitter.com/ca28qHYN63
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 3, 2020
Lee wasn’t kicked out or banned from Knicks games like some speculated, but the incident is yet another example of the poor relationship Dolan and the team have with their prominent fans and former players. Dolan has been at the center of numerous disputes with such supporters, and one led to a lawsuit with Oakley. Lee has been one of the Knicks’ biggest fans for years, and it sounds like he is fed up with Dolan like so many others.