Latest James Dolan Incident Shows NBA Should Force Him to Sell the Knicks

NBA commissioner Adam Silver should compel Dolan to sell for conduct detrimental to the league.

March 11, 2019 11:11 am
Basketball Billionaires Feuding Over $1 Billion Arena in Inglewood
New York Knicks owner James Dolan. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty)

On Saturday night after the 13-54 Knicks lost at home to the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden, team owner James Dolan made security detain a fan who yelled at him to “sell the team” after the 102-94 loss.

Upset by the fan verbalizing the sentiments of many Knicks fans, Dolan had the man escorted from the arena and is apparently banning him from future games.

Following the incident, a Garden spokesperson issued a statement that read: “Our policy is and will continue to be that if you are disrespectful to anyone in our venues, we will ask you not to return.”

Why the fan would even want to return to pay good money to watch such a bad product is one question, but a better one is, why Dolan is allowed to continue owning the Knicks — which used to be one of the proudest franchises in all of American sports.

With Dolan at the helm, the Knicks have eroded into a joke and become a sports punchline ranking up down there with the Cleveland Browns. But at least the Browns are finally moving the right direction.

And it’s not just questionable on court decisions like empowering Isiah Thomas and hiring an uninterested Phil Jackson have characterized Dolan’s terrible tenure. It’s also off-court incidents like his feud with a fan, a similar one involving former Knick Charles Oakley in 2017, and a third with Ethan Hawke that have stained Dolan’s reign at MSG.

Seemingly more concerned with playing sweet licks with his blues band, JD & The Straight Shot than getting the Knicks on the right track, Dolan should be forced to sell his team by NBA commissioner Adam Silver for conduct detrimental to the league and improper treatment of his dwindling fanbase.

It is, after all, something Silver has done before.

Remember, in 2014 he successfully pressured Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sign off on selling his team to  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion after tapes of him making racist remarks hit the internet.

That is not to compare the level of severity between the two men’s conduct, but just to point out that there is a precedent to hold owners accountable for actions that damage the image of the league.

Were Dolan to sell the team, he’d no longer have to fight with fans, he’d have more time to jam with his blues band, and the Knicks might actually have a chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.

All of that said, the odds Silver will step in the same way he did with Sterling are low to non-existent.

The biggest reason for that is the Knicks, despite being the worst team in the NBA, are also the most valuable.

Valued at $4 billion (an 11 percent increase from a year ago), the Knicks are tied with the New York Yankees as the second-most-valuable sports franchise in the U.S.

That likely means Dolan will continue to line his pockets while both he and long-suffering Knicks fans sing the blues.

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