Knicks owner James Dolan urges an angry 'alcoholic maybe' New York fan to root for the Nets

Knicks owner James Dolan urges an angry 'alcoholic maybe' New York fan to root for the Nets

It’s not that we don’t respect Deadspin’s editorial staff, or their standards in vetting what could be hoaxes, but their post from Sunday morning seemed almost too good to be true. We all know New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan is a spoiled, petulant, and incompetent titan of the MSG industry his father gave him, but the supposed email he sent a longtime Knicks fan in January appeared to be a little too in-character. A little too perfect. A little too Dolan.

Turns out, it was all Dolan. His own team, weirdly and needlessly, confirmed that it was all Dolan. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Via Deadspin, here is the body of an email sent to Dolan in January:

At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from your dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Bringing on Phil Jackson was a positive beginning, but lowballing Steve Kerr was a DISGRACE to the knicks. The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise.

As a knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks. Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction Obviously, money IS NOT THE ONLY THING. You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.


Nobody likes being told to step down from their job, and certainly nobody (not even James Dolan) is going to happily pass the buck on a moneymaker like the Knicks, recently valued at $2.5 billion by Forbes Magazine.

Still, outside of a bit of “you’re”/”your” confusion and the misspelling of Isiah Thomas’ first name (pretty typical for most angry emails that NBA types receive), the email was not inaccurate.

Dolan’s response was James Dolan-level inappropriate:

You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.


James Dolan

Again, Dolan’s response was so pathetic that we wondered if someone was putting Deadspin on. We had the same cynical, dubious take that we’d have mustered after being told that, say, Kanye West stormed a stupid award show stage in order to rant about Beyoncé. Nobody could lack that much self-awareness, right? Nobody could follow through on that level of uninteresting caricature, right? It was so believable, that it had to be unbelievable, right?

It’s an unfunny hoax, right?

Wrong. From the Associated Press:

An MSG spokesman confirmed the email, which appeared Sunday on, was written by Dolan.


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As someone who was once addicted to drugs and alcohol, Dolan should know that lobbing around accusations about alcoholism is not something to toss out lightly. As an alcoholic celebrating decades of sobriety, and as a presumably sane person, Dolan should also know that holding one’s own sobriety over a person’s head is about as low as one can get – those who once were the sick man in the gutter shouldn’t really be sneering at the sick man in the gutter.

How Dolan came to the “alcoholic” conclusion is mind-boggling, as his own email reply (written to someone who has been a fan since the early 1950s, someone clearly of an advanced age) is riddled with more grammatical errors than the initial email. If anything, it’s Dolan that looks like he’s the one that downed a few Manhattans (without tipping well, because he owns the place) prior to hitting the laptop.

We can say that, because Dolan’s the one making the rules, ‘ere. We’re now allowed to question the blood alcohol content of every damning email from this point on.

After all, those Manhattans are probably the only thing that allows Dolan the temerity to listen to his own terrible songs. Or live with himself after acting like a prat to his employees when they do their job, or live with himself as he presides over the Worst Knicks Team Ever, featuring a highly-paid president who was quick to candidly admit that his first run out of the gate has featured an experiment gone pear-shaped. Gone “Dolan,” more specifically.

Then MSG confirmed it. Like it's proud of it, or something. Like the hubris and disconnect that Spoiled Son of a Rich Guy That Actually Earned His Money James Dolan oozes in full has now dripped down to rest on the shoulders of the team’s PR staff.

The Brooklyn Nets are for sale. The team is at a laughably high loss for draft picks, it features a cadre of overpaid and/or aging stars, a coach that is often out of line with reality, the NBA’s largest payroll, and the entire franchise screams of either new or undeserved money.

James Dolan? Respectfully, go buy the Nets.

UPDATE: NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in perhaps his first misstep, responded with this:

James Dolan is not "a consummate New Yorker."


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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!