Whenever Knicks legend Charles Oakley wants to see his old team at Madison Square Garden, he finds his tickets on StubHub. That’s because the team’s owner won’t even acknowledge his existence.
Oakley, regarded as the heart and soul of the Knicks during his 10-year run in New York, was at Times Square Knickerbocker Hotel Wednesday for a press conference for Zipway (a company belonging to his former teammate John Starks). During his time with the media, Oakley talked about his relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan.
Oakley told the media that Dolan ignored him when they were introduced at the NBA All-Star game last year. Oakley even went as far as asking commissioner Adam Silver to set up a meeting with Dolan.
“I asked the commissioner to set up a meeting with (Dolan), take a step forward,” Oakley said via Christian Red of the New York Daily News. “I want to know what I did to be hated so bad by an owner. The dad (Charles Dolan), I never heard him say nothing bad about me. I asked players I played with to go talk with (James Dolan). He said he don’t want to deal with me.”
Why might Dolan be upset with Oakley?
“He said (that) I said something in the paper 15 years ago,” Oakley told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton. “I even asked the commissioner to set up a meeting. I said we’ll get all the articles. I said, ‘What have I said?’ … I’ll come on the air and clear it up.”
This is not the first time we have heard Oakley complain about his relationship with his former team; in 2012, he whined about being unable to get a job with the franchise.
There are two sides to every story, so we would be curious to hear Dolan’s reasoning. Regardless, this is a bad look for Dolan, who is already in one mess this week after berating a long-time fan via email. Plus, fans are steaming over the Knicks’ league-worst 10-43 record this season. After this mess, there might be a lot of cheap tickets on StubHub for Oakley, or anyone else, to buy.
A Knicks fan of over 60 years probably wasn’t expecting a response when he fired off an email to team owner James Dolan imploring him to sell off the franchise. While the desired result was not achieved, Dolan perfectly illustrated Irving Bierman’s complaints in his angry missive.
Bierman’s son, Aaron, released the email exchange between his dad and Dolan to Deadspin. Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck later confirmed the authenticity of the emails.
Besides the Isiah Thomas debacle, the elder Bierman cited the lowball offer to head coaching candidate Steve Kerr as the latest in a string of Dolan’s “utterly STUPID business things with the franchise.”
Subject: I have been a knicks fan since 1952
At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from your dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Bringing on Phil Jackson was a positive beginning, but lowballing Steve Kerr was a DISGRACE to the knicks. The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise.
As a knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks. Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction Obviously, money IS NOT THE ONLY THING. You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.
[Aaron Bierman’s dad]
And now for Dolan’s reply, which Knicks PR staffers are likely wishing they had a chance to nix before it was ever sent.
You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.
Typos aside, it’s pretty bizarre that Dolan questions why anyone would write a hateful letter and then proceeds to demean Bierman over his next six sentences. But it’s not like this is the first time we have seen an executive castigate a fan recently.
Will Dolan’s insults be enough to chase this lifelong fan away? Not so, according to ESPN New York’s Ian Begley. Those fans are loyal!
New York Knicks owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson so he could yield to an expert. Jackson has been given total control of New York’s basketball operations department, which means Dolan shouldn’t be stepping on any toes going forward. Steve Kerr may not be convinced of that.
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com is reporting that one of the pitches the Golden State Warriors made to Kerr had to do with the difficulty of working under Dolan. A source “familiar with the process” reportedly told Begley that the Warriors reminded Kerr of how established coaches like Larry Brown and Mike D’Antoni fared with the Knicks and that played a role in Kerr’s decision to choose Golden State.
Kerr’s agent Mike Tannenbaum emphasized the importance of Kerr remaining close to his family.
“Both Golden State and the Knicks were terrific to deal with, and they both made very generous offers,” Tannenbaum said. “This wasn’t a decision about money, or trying to get the last dollar. In the end, for Steve, this was based on lifestyle and family. That was a huge, huge factor in choosing Golden State. Now his family is a short flight away, and that was an extremely important thing for Steve.”
As with any major career decision, I’m sure Kerr considered a number of factors. Reports that he wanted to remain on the West Coast to be closer to his daughter obviously were not overblown, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he also wanted to avoid Dolan. At the end of the day, Dolan still owns the Knicks. As long as that’s the case, there’s always a risk of his influence harming the franchise.
Phil Jackson took over the New York Knicks’ basketball operations department just over a month ago, and there could already be trouble in paradise. As expected, Jackson fired head coach Mike Woodson and most of his staff earlier this week. More moves are expected within the organization over the next several months. That is, if team owner James Dolan will allow them.
The NY Daily News reported on Tuesday that Jackson has already “clashed” with Dolan over personnel decisions. Dolan, who admitted last month that he is not a basketball expert, apparently disagrees with Jackson’s desire to remove certain employees and has told him to focus his efforts on building a winning team.
When Jackson signed a five-year, $60 million contract and became the highest-paid executive in the league, the assumption was that he would be given an opportunity to change the culture of the Knicks organization — not just the team’s roster.
As the Daily News noted, long-time assistant coach Herb Williams was one of the coaches fired on Monday. Shortly after, a report surfaced indicating the team would “encourage” its next head coach to bring Williams back. Considering Jackson decided to fire him along with Woodson, that makes little sense. Unless, of course, Dolan is the person responsible for the report.
“There are a lot of good people at the Garden and a lot of good people that travel with the team, but if Phil wants to start fresh why wouldn’t you allow him to do that?” a Knicks employee reportedly told the Daily News.
Earlier this week, ESPN New York’s Ian Begley reported that Jackson has been vocal about his disappointment with some of the Knicks’ players conditioning this past season. That has led to speculation that people within the team’s medical and training staff could lose their jobs, which could be one of the issues Jackson and Dolan are not seeing eye-to-eye with.
Jackson made it very clear that he would not have accepted the Knicks job without full control. We know Dolan has a history of vetoing decisions and not allowing the people he hires to work independently. Jackson is not going to allow himself to become just another Dolan employee.
The New York Knicks officially introduced Phil Jackson as the newest member of the organization on Tuesday, and with that team owner James Dolan took the opportunity to say a few words. Dolan was honest, though I’m not sure his comments are going to sit well with Knicks fans like the ones who have organized a protest for Wednesday night outside Madison Square Garden.
“I am by no means a basketball expert,” Dolan told reporters, via a video that Deadspin shared. “I’m a fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and businesses.”
Most Knicks fans would agree with that assessment, but there have been plenty of instances where Dolan has involved himself in the day-to-day basketball operations of the team. He has tried to make roster decisions without consulting his basketball people, which makes little sense when you take Thursday’s comments into consideration.
“I think I’m a little out of my element when it comes to the team,” Dolan said. “I found myself in a position where I needed to be more a part of the decision making for a while. It wasn’t necessarily something that I wanted to do, but as chairman of the company felt obligated to do. I’m happy now that we have a team of Phil and Steve (Mills) to do that.”
Simply put, Dolan was admitting his mistakes. He thought he could handle making basketball decisions the same way a lot of fans think they could do the same, but Dolan was wrong. Will Knicks fans forgive him? Not until the team can sustain success, but you have to admire the honesty.
A report from the NY Daily News on Thursday indicated that New York Knicks owner James Dolan sat down with Carmelo Anthony earlier this week to discuss the direction of the team. One of the topics they allegedly spoke about was whether head coach Mike Woodson has lost the locker room in the wake of another multi-game losing streak.
The Knicks are 20-30. Anthony has said publicly on multiple occasions that the players are the ones who have to execute and the coaches are not to blame, but his reputation as a coach killer precedes him. A person close to Carmelo reportedly told the Daily News that he is not looking for Woodson to be fired.
“There may be players that have a problem with Woody and want to blame him but Carmelo isn’t one of them,” the source said. “If Carmelo has tuned out Woody or doesn’t want him as a coach, why did he score 62 points two weeks ago? Why was he player of the month in January?”
Almost any coach in Woodson’s position would be on the hot seat, and there have been rumors that he could be fired by the end of the month. It would stand to reason that Dolan would consult Anthony before making such a significant change, especially since ‘Melo can opt out of his contract after the season ends. However, he insist his conversation with Dolan was simply a tea party.
“It wasn’t nothing serious,” Anthony said Friday, via Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. “Just talking. I had tea. He had tea. That’s it. We didn’t get into details about anything. It was just a conversation.”
I don’t know what’s harder to envision — Carmelo sitting around drinking tea or Carmelo and Dolan not discussing the future of a 20-30 team that could be losing its best player at the end of the season. Dolan knows he needs to keep ‘Melo and probably bring in another top free agent in order to contend. If losing Woodson means keeping Anthony, Woodson will be gone.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan is not the most popular man among basketball fans. The Knicks, who have not won a championship since 1973, are struggling once again. For those of you who didn’t know, Dolan also performs in a band he founded called “JD & The Straight Shot.”
Dolan’s band is relatively popular, having toured alongside famous bands like The Eagles and The Allman Brothers. According to Dolan’s band’s Wikipedia page, a lot of the songs JD & The Straight Shot have written are about the failures of the Knicks.
Yes, someone obviously hacked the page. It was likely a disgruntled Knicks fan, and it’s hilarious. We have seen some pretty funny Wikipedia hacks in the past, but this is right up there among the best. If only the person had added “Keep Woody Allen out of My Lounge” and “Tell Those Girls to Stop Dancing” to the list of tracks.
H/T Extra Mustard
Woody Allen is no longer allowed inside a VIP suite in Madison Square Garden after declining a request to do some promotional work for MSG Network, according to a report.
The four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker, whose love affair with New York and the Knicks has been expressed throughout his movie career, has been a regular at “Suite 200”, which is the name of the VIP lounge celebrities hang out in before and during halftime of games. But the New York Post says Allen is no longer welcome in there after declining to do promotion for MSG Network or the Garden of Dreams Foundation.
The Post says MSG bought the rights to some of Allen’s movies and asked him to do some specials for them where he would talk about the movies or introduce them.
“Woody said he would not be comfortable doing that,” The Post quoted a source as saying. “He has never done that for any show or network. They then said that this was a ‘reciprocal arrangement’ and that if Woody couldn’t go on TV for them, he should not eat in their VIP restaurant anymore. Woody said fine and thanked them for the many years he had enjoyed the space there.”
Is anyone really surprised by this? Dolan is the same guy who has his head coach followed and who told his dance team to stop dancing because they were losing. He sounds like a real charmer.
I’d love to see Woody weave this storyline into one of his next movies, but I doubt he will. You know Larry David absolutely would if that happened to him.
We knew that James Dolan was a meddling, whimsical and borderline creepy owner, but this just confirms it.
According to the New York Daily News, Dolan has an MSG employee follow Knicks coach Mike Woodson everywhere he goes.
Here’s a nugget from an article Frank Isola published Wednesday night:
Woodson also allows himself to be followed by a Garden employee everywhere he goes, whether it’s at home games or on the road. Last season, the employee wouldn’t leave Woodson’s side as the coach met with family and friends outside the visiting team locker room in Atlanta. It was an awkward and uncomfortable scene.
This shouldn’t be a surprise; Larry Brown complained about Dolan having spies on him when he coached the team in the 2005-2006 season. Of course, Woodson played and coached for Brown, so he was well aware of what he was getting into when he accepted the position.
But let’s look at this whole thing. So Dolan has an employee follow Woodson. He had Knicks dancers stop performing at home games because of how the team’s been doing. He fired then re-hired a security guard who didn’t know who he was. And he had Carmelo Anthony bugged last season after the whole incident with Kevin Garnett. Big Brother is watching, apparently.
Playing for those Knicks, man, sounds like a real blast. And who needs George Steinbrenner when James Dolan is around?
H/T Beyond the Buzzer
New York Knicks owner James Dolan is not going to wait very long for his team to turn things around before making rash decisions. According to the NY Daily News, Dolan was “ready to erupt” on Sunday night after the Knicks gave up 40 points in the first quarter and eventually dug themselves into a 23-point hole during a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. At one point, he got up and left his courtside seat.
If this continues, we may eventually have to deal with the beautiful Knicks dancers becoming nothing more than human T-shirt cannons.
Dolan has become such a hands-on owner — figuratively speaking — that, according to a source, he doesn’t want the dancers dancing. Crazy, right? The same guy who wanted creative input on the dancers’ outfits (and he’s good at it) apparently ordered that the girls’ roles be reduced to mostly throwing T-shirts into the crowd. They performed maybe one routine on Sunday.
Why? No one seems to know, except the standard answer is usually “that’s Dolan.”
This is bad new for everyone. The Knicks are off to a 1-2 start and have 79 games left to play. Apparently Dolan has no intention of being patient this year. He said before the season started that he expects to win a championship this year, and it looks like he wasn’t joking.
The Daily News added that Dolan tracked down Knicks general manager and team president Steve Mills to give him an earful about how poorly the team has been playing. Mills may not be to blame, but he should take one for the team in this instance. Nobody wants to see the dancers run out of Madison Square Garden.