New York Knicks owner James Dolan has COVID-19 but is doing well, the team announced on Saturday.
The Knicks said in a statement that Dolan has been in self-isolation and not experiencing many symptoms after testing positive for the virus. Dolan is also continuing to oversee the business operations for Madison Square Garden Company.
The Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 29, 2020
Dolan has been busy with recent business deals. His MSG company agreed to a sale of The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer for $400 million in cash.
Dolan also stepped up for his employees during the economic shutdown. His company said in a memo they would be paying workers at their venues through at least May 3. The venues include Radio City Music Hall, The Hulu Theatre and The Chicago Theatre, in addition to Madison Square Garden.
- James Dolan
James Dolan and former New York Knicks fan favorite Charles Oakley are still tangled up in a legal battle, and one of the greatest players in franchise history is calling for them to bury the hatchet.
Oakley had his civil lawsuit against the Knicks dismissed last month, but he is currently going through the appeals process. When asked about the situation during an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “The Bart and Hahn Show” on Wednesday, Patrick Ewing said he wishes Dolan and Oakley would sort out their differences.
“Whatever is going on with him and Mr. Dolan, like I’ve said before, it’s something that needs to stop,” Ewing said, as transcribed by SNY’s Scott Thompson. “He’s one of the best players that I’ve played with. He’s a part of the Knicks’ history. He and Mr. Dolan need to get in a room somewhere and figure that out.”
Ewing, who is the head coach at Georgetown, has maintained a good relationship with Dolan. The Hall of Famer did not want to share his thoughts on Oakley calling Madison Square Garden a “plantation” after Spike Lee had a public spat with the Knicks recently, though Ewing had nothing but high praise for Oakley as a former teammate.
“Charles Oakley was one of my best teammates. He was an enforcer. I enjoyed playing with him,” Ewing said. “I have nothing but respect for him. That’s all I want to say about that.”
Oakley’s lawsuit against Dolan stems from an incident in February 2017 in which Oakley was escorted from Madison Square Garden and arrested. He was seen getting into a confrontation with security guards after he allegedly criticized Dolan in what the team described as a “highly inappropriate and abusive manner.”
It doesn’t really matter who is it fault for the feuds that have developed between Dolan, former Knicks players, and prominent fans. The press that the franchise gets from it is embarrassing, which is likely why Ewing wants to see Dolan and Oakley work things out.
The New York Knicks had a big leadership position to fill in their front office after firing president Steve Mills in February. They were expected to target Masai Ujiri for the position, and a report said some of the top executives around the league had interest in the job.
Instead, the Knicks ended up hiring Leon Rose as team president, following the model of the Warriors and Lakers by going with a former player agent. Why did they got that direction?
In his weekly newsletter, the New York Times’ Marc Stein shared one of the reasons why Knicks owner James Dolan chose Rose.
Among the reasons Rose was chosen, I’m told, is that Dolan, had grown sick of people telling him he needed to pursue an experienced executive such as Toronto’s Masai Ujiri and turned to Rose instead after a decade of frequent business between the Knicks and Rose’s former employers at Creative Artists Agency.
Dolan acting defiantly? You don’t say. Who would have ever expected that from the Knicks owner? Bob Myers has done well in Golden State and Rob Pelinka has helped turn things around in Los Angeles. Maybe Dolan’s decision to go with Rose won’t turn out to be so bad.
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.
As the Wilpon family looks set to get out of ownership, there are assets other than the New York Mets organization itself that could be available for purchase.
One of those is SNY, the cable home of the Mets that is partially owned by the Wilpons. According to Thornton McEnery of the New York Post, Knicks owner James Dolan could be interested in purchasing SNY to merge it with MSG Network, forming a network that owns both basketball and baseball games.
There is some belief that Dolan could even look at forming part of an ownership group to buy the Mets, but this is seen as less likely.
“Jim Dolan buying the Mets sounds crazy at first,” one banker with knowledge of both Dolan and the Mets sale told the Post. “But he has always wanted to merge [the MSG Network] with another local sports channel. He needs baseball, and that might require taking a shot at the Mets.”
Owning SNY would allow for a year-round revenue stream with live sports. Major League Baseball, however, is unlikely to be pleased with the prospect of any Dolan ownership.
Mets ownership speculation opened up in a major way after things fell through with prospective buyer Steve Cohen. It has led to some pretty wild chatter, and Dolan is unlikely to be the last big name we hear linked to this.
It looks like James Dolan is going to have to keep waiting if he wants to reconcile with Charles Oakley.
Oakley has appealed after his lawsuit against Dolan and Madison Square Garden was thrown out.
NEW: Charles Oakley has appealed the dismissal of his federal court defamation and assault and battery lawsuit against James Dolan and Madison Square Garden. He filed his notice of appeal to the Second Circuit just one day after his case was dismissed.#NoJusticeNoPeace pic.twitter.com/WvlADPnAB9
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) February 22, 2020
Oakley alleged assault and battery and defamation in his lawsuit, which stems from a bizarre incident at MSG in February 2017. The suit was initially tossed for failing to meet the standards required of a federal suit. Oakley is clearly undeterred and is keeping the process going, even though it’s hard to see him having better luck in appeals court.
Dolan, the owner of the New York Knicks, had voiced his hope for reconciliation after the initial lawsuit was dismissed. If there was any doubt from Oakley’s side before, that definitely won’t be happening.
Charles Oakley was unsuccessful with his civil lawsuit against the New York Knicks, and team owner James Dolan is hoping the two sides can now put the issue behind them and possibly move toward reconciling.
A judge dismissed Oakley’s lawsuit against Dolan and the Madison Square Garden Company on Wednesday, ruling that the former Knicks star “failed to allege a plausible legal claim that can meet federal legal standards.” Dolan issued a statement saying he is hopeful there can now be peace between Oakley and the organization.
Madison Square Garden statement on Charles Oakley’s civil suit being dismissed by a judge today: “We thank the court for its ruling. This was an incident that no one was happy about. Maybe now there can be peace between us.”
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 19, 2020
Oakley’s lawsuit stemmed from an incident in February 2017 in which he was escorted from Madison Square Garden and arrested. He was seen getting into a confrontation with security guards after he allegedly criticized Dolan in what the team described as a “highly inappropriate and abusive manner.”
Oakley ended up charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing in addition to two counts of harassment. He agreed to a plea deal that gave him six months of probation and a one-year ban from MSG.
Judging by some of his more recent comments about the Knicks, we doubt Oakley will want to have a relationship with the team as long as Dolan remains owner.