One must give the New York Knicks credit. For a team whose record is 23-33, which makes them the 4th-worst team in the Eastern Conference; for a franchise that has a president who looks uninterested in the job and a star player who’s future with the team is in limbo – they keep themselves as popular as the Warriors and the Cavs.
How do they achieve this? The answer, my friends, is one word: Chaos.
The owner of the Knicks, James Dolan, is worth somewhere near $1.5 billion dollars. Too bad the dollars don’t add up to wins for the Knicks though. This franchise has been a comedy of errors since the turn of the century. There is a healthy-chuckle of names that have been tied to the Knicks and massive amounts of dollars wasted: Allan Houston, Isiah Thomas, Larry Brown, Jerome James, Eddy Curry and most currently Joakim Noah.
Let’s not ignore the presence of the Zen-Master, Phil Jackson though. In 2014, Dolan gave Phil Jackson a five-year, $60 million contract to become president of the New York Knicks (this is an executive position Phil Jackson has never held in his lifetime previously). It is now early 2017 and it’s safe to say this Phil Jackson experiment is a disaster. Jackson lives in a past where he believes his fabled “triangle-offense” is the only way this Knicks team can succeed. He goes on twitter to childishly “sub” players and fans alike. And his huge ego has made him now cower away from the podium where he used to be at his most comfortable.
Jackson has an on-going beef with star Carmelo Anthony (who Jackson re-signed to the team in 2014 to a five-year deal). Although Dolan said he would let Phil Jackson run this team and he (Dolan) would not interfere at all – rumor has it that Dolan’s one request to Phil Jackson was to re-sign Carmelo Anthony. Jackson has never hid his criticisms of Anthony, and this year with talks of trying to trade Carmelo, while pretty much throwing him under the bus for this season – Knicks fans and players are now tired of the Jackson-routine and have favored with Anthony (even if trading him actually makes more sense than holding onto him.)
As if this wasn’t enough – oh yeah, remember they are 23-33, Derrick Rose “no-showed” for a game, Joakim Noah is awful and their young star Kristaps Porziņģis is out there trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents – here comes the Charles Oakley thing.
As we all know, on February 8th, Charles Oakley got into a scuffle of sorts with security at Madison Square Garden, was escorted out and arrested the same night. Of course there are conflicting sides to this story. The Knicks released a statement saying Oakley “came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner,” while Oakley said he “was minding his own business when he was confronted by Madison Square Garden Security, who asked why he was sitting so close to Dolan.”
Charles Oakley is a legend in New York. And although Oakley admitted he was wrong for putting his hands on someone else (because he was wrong about that, lets not lose sight of that) – isn’t it strange that he had to buy his own ticket to watch a Knicks game. Oakley is revered in New York as a player who gave 100% every night. A player that threw his body on the line for teammates, loose balls or anything that would benefit his the Knicks. Seeing their “hero” getting thrown out of MSG, while watching their beloved Knicks during another struggling season became a boiling point for fans.
Dolan did not help matters, after it was confirmed that Oakley had been banned from MSG by accusing Oakley of being an alcoholic and an overly aggressive person: “He may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know,” said Dolan, a recovering addict. “Behaviors of being physically and verbally abusive, those are personality problems (New York Post).”
This statement coming from a guy who went to a drug rehabilitation center to take care of his demons in 1993. And this, coming from a man who in 2015, responded to an angry fan who wrote a letter about his frustration with the Knicks with statements like “root for the Nets because the Knicks don’t want you” and even said in his letter that the man was probably an “alcoholic.”
And not for nothing, maybe someone should check the temperature on Dolan’s sobriety after offering Phil Jackson that team-president job. . .
According to ESPN, forces are trying to reconcile this beef between Dolan and Oakley. Dolan has made a very obvious attempt at being a “good guy” with former players by having former Knick Lattrell Sprewell sit next to him court side for the Spurs-Knicks game last Sunday at the Garden. Sprewell spoke with the media after in what seemed like a very “prepared” speech which spoke highly about how he’s been treated as a former player.
Knicks fans aren’t dumb enough to fall for such a transparent ploy.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley there is “some momentum toward a resolution” between Oakley and Dolan, thanks to recent conversation between both sides.” This would be good, if it’s resolved quickly, but even then – we all saw the true nature of James Dolan. And what the world has witness in the last week about Dolan is what New Yorkers have known for far too long.