NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: Director and New York Knicks fan Spike Lee looks on before the start of the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks respond to Spike Lee after the superfan went on television to bash the team following an incident on Monday night.

Danny Small

NEW YORK, NY—It wouldn’t be a day that ends in “y” if there wasn’t something wild going on with the New York Knicks. The latest saga involves filmmaker/director/Knicks superfan Spike Lee and his preferred method of entering Madison Square Garden.

After entering through the employee entrance, Lee was told to go back and re-enter through the VIP area. He wasn’t happy, but Lee eventually made it into his usual seat.

All seemed right in the world after a minor incident. The Knicks came out in the second half and held off the surging Houston Rockets on team president Leon Rose’s first day on the job. All in all, Monday should have been a great night for the organization.

But then, Tuesday happened. Lee made an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” to bash the organization and let the world know that there is still bad blood. In fact, he went as far as to say he’s being “harassed” by owner Jim Dolan and the Knicks. He called the team’s handling of the situation “spin” and is vowing not to return to MSG this year.

“I’m coming back next year, but I’m done for the season,” Lee said. “I’m done.”

Following his television appearance, the Knicks released a statement of their own:

“The idea that Spike Lee is a victim because we have repeatedly asked him to not use our employee entrance and instead use a dedicated VIP entrance – which is used by every other celebrity who enters The Garden – is laughable. It’s disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama. He is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; just not through our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim agreed to last night when they shook hands.”

Lee stated that he refused to shake hands with Dolan, but it’s impossible to dispute this photo the Knicks put out of the two.

Multiple sources confirm to ESNY that the Knicks have continually told Lee to use the VIP entrance. For whatever reason, he still wants to use the employee entrance. The latter can be difficult to pass through, at times, while the VIP is set up to make life as easy as possible on celebs.

As a writer who has covered upwards of 50 games in MSG, I can tell you first-hand that security runs a tight ship. Of course, I’m not Spike Lee so I can’t speak to his own personal experience in the arena. But the point remains. Lee has been told numerous times to use the VIP entrance and he chooses to ignore these requests.

This looks like yet another petty squabble going down in MSG which is unfortunate for fans of the team. The Knicks are 2-0 on their current five-game homestand and the most recent win was led by the youthful backcourt RJ Barrett and Frank Ntilikina. The focus should be on basketball.

Interim head coach Mike Miller has been adjacent to all the drama that comes with being the head coach of the Knicks, but he rarely says anything controversial. In fact, Miller used the opportunity to express his appreciation for the fans as a whole.

“I haven’t seen anything yet so I really don’t know what transpired,” Miller said after Tuesday’s shootaround in Tarrytown. “The only thing I’ll say is that Spike Lee and our fans, we’ve got great fans. We appreciate our fans and we want to see them out there every night.”

And for what it’s worth, fans—including Spike Lee—will keep coming back to Madison Square Garden to watch the Knicks.

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