During a season when the New York Knicks organization is celebrating their 70th anniversary as a NBA franchise, James Dolan is continuing to ruin the team’s legacy.
The big news swirling around the Knicks of late is not the team's play on the court, of course, but rather the parade of alumni that is hanging courtside. Last week, Dolan had former Knick forward Charles Oakley removed from The Garden for behavior that Dolan deemed unsuitable for the venue. Dolan initially had banned Oakley for life from Madison Square Garden following the incident, but after an intervention headed by Michael Jordan and Adam Silver, Dolan has rescinded that ban. Oakley said that lifting the ban was not enough, and he wants a public apology from Dolan before he even thinks about putting this incident behind him.
Here is the problem. The fact that the biggest story about the New York Knicks right now is a feud between their cry baby owner and a player who hasn't worn the Knicks uniform in 19 years is pathetic. Since Dolan took over as owner of the Knicks in the mid-90s there have been issues with Dolan’s involvement with the team. There are obviously a handful of former Knicks who have an issue with the way Dolan has handled things as owner of the team.
Following the Oakley incident, Dolan tried his hardest to save face by bringing back another Knicks alumni who he had been on bad terms with since trading him in 2003. Latrell Sprewell made his return to The Garden on Sunday for the first time in 13 years as he sat courtside next to Dolan. Sprewell was greeted with a raucous ovation from The Garden crowd and rightfully so. In the late '90s and early 2000s Sprewell provided New York City with a gritty attitude and some entertaining moments both on and off the court. But after Dolan had Sprewell traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, things between the two became heated and Exhibit A was Dec. 23, 2003.
Dolan had been critical of Sprewell’s character since the day he arrived in New York, and boy did Dolan get a real taste of Sprewell’s character in his return to The Garden on that day in December. Starting from the tip-off, Sprewell was spewing with anger that was clearly directed at Dolan. Throughout the game, Sprewell hurled profanities at Dolan - who at times was blushing at the verbal attacks. Sprewell had won the battle against Dolan, and ironically after Dolan was rumored to have told the Knicks players that they better win tonight, Sprewell managed to win the game for the Timberwolves behind a 31-point effort.
The point here is that in 2017 the New York Knicks' organization is still not focusing on the things that will return the franchise to its glory days. Dolan is continuing to ruin the Knicks, and until somebody steps in and takes the reins away from him nothing is going to change.
Dolan is this franchise’s cancer, and until he is removed the Knicks will continue to suffer.