Karma, at least for last night, was real. After being involved in a messy disagreement with their biggest and most celebrated fan, Spike Lee, the New York Knicks experienced its lowest basketball attendance at Madison Square Garden since 2006, according to Newsweek. (Lee graduated from Morehouse College.)
The Oscar-winning writer-director and famed No. 1 Knicks fan told ESPN’s First Take earlier this week that he will not attend another Knicks home game this season. According to Lee, Madison Square Garden security wouldn’t allow him to enter the Knicks’ home court through the employees’ entrance, a ritual he has been doing for almost 30 years. The backlash has been growing as fans, former pro basketball players, TV commentators and even casual basketball fans have come out against the Knicks and Madison Square Garden after MSG released a statement essentially blaming Lee for the current mishap.
“They never said when the thing changed, so why not call me?” Lee said. “When my deposit’s due, this astronomical price for Knicks tickets, and I’m one day late, my phone is ringing off the hook.”
“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,” the statement from Madison Square Garden read. “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 [James Dolan] agreed to last night when they shook hands.”
Only 16,588 people attended Wednesday’s Knicks game at MSG, an arena that has a full capacity listed at 19,812. That was the arena’s smallest home crowd in nearly 13½ years. The Knicks, as is their won, lost to the Utah Jazz, 112-104.
Will this trend continue? The Knicks play the Oklahoma City Thunder at home tonight.
This post was written by Cedric ‘BIG CED’ Thornton, a writer at Black Enterprise, where it was originally published. It is published here with permission.