Knicks super fan Spike Lee feuds with MSG security, says he was asked to leave over entrance issue

Yahoo Sports

Legendary director and New York Knicks super fan Spike Lee got into a heated argument with Madison Square Garden security on Monday night as he was denied entry to the venue to watch the Knicks play the Houston Rockets.

The exchange was caught on video, and Lee sounds pretty upset.

You can hear Lee yelling, “No one told me!” at security, and then he makes a reference to Charles Oakley, the former Knicks player who was ejected from Madison Square Garden in 2017 and led away in handcuffs after alleged “inappropriate” behavior.

Lee explains incident on “First Take”

Lee did make it into the Garden for the game, and was sitting in his normal courtside seat. A Knicks spokesman told the New York Post and New York Daily News that the altercation was over a simple mixup with the entrance Lee usually uses to get into the Garden, but Lee gave the whole story on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday and it seems like more than that.

So there was an issue with the entrance, but it goes deeper than a simple mixup. Lee said that he’s been using the entrance for employees and media members for nearly 30 years, but suddenly on Monday night he was told by security that he would have to leave and re-enter through a different entrance.

Security first asked Lee, whose ticket had already been scanned, to get off the elevator, which he refused. The elevator was eventually released and sent to the floor of the Garden, where Lee’s seat was. When he got off the elevator he was met by more security, who told him that he had to leave and come back into the Garden through the VIP entrance.

As a longtime veteran of sporting events, Lee knows that a ticket can’t be scanned twice. He refused to leave and re-enter, because he didn’t “trust those guys” to allow him back into the Garden. Lee said that he was then asked to leave the Garden, which is when he invoked Oakley’s name and infamous arrest. Security then offered to take the elevator with him and escort him to his seat, which he consented to.

Then James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks and the Garden, got involved. Lee mentioned during his interview that the orders given to security personnel “come from the top,” AKA Dolan, but Dolan wanted to discuss the incident with Lee at halftime. Lee wasn’t having it, because not only had he been using that media/employee entrance for 28 years, he used it less than a week ago when he attended a performance of the play “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Garden, which was being done for 18,000 school kids.

Knicks release statement, Lee responds

The Knicks released a statement about the incident, and about Lee’s interview, on Tuesday afternoon. It was about as friendly as you’d imagine.

The tweet also includes several photos. One is of the entrance that Lee has used for decades, which is for employees and media members. The other photo is of Lee and Dolan shaking hands, likely to confirm the version of events in the statement.

Lee had a response to this statement, which he shared with Sopan Deb of the New York Times. Lee told Deb that the Knicks’ statement is a “bold-faced lie,” and that the team had never contacted him about changing his normal entrance to the Garden. Lee also said that he never shook hands with Dolan, and then spit some fiery truth about the sad state of the Knicks: “What’s laughable is how the Knicks are the laughingstock of sports. That’s what’s f---ing laughable.”

Lee is done with the Knicks this year

Lee’s telling of events differs somewhat from the account a spokesman gave to the media. Lee was denied entry at the same entrance he’s used for 28 years, but it was painted as mostly a misunderstanding that Lee had completely gotten over by the time Dolan came to speak to him at halftime. As his appearance on “First Take” shows, Lee was most definitely angry about it then, and remains angry about it — especially at Dolan.

Over the years, Lee has spent a tremendous amount of money on the Knicks — nearly $10 million over his 28 years as a season-ticket holder. When he found out just how much he’s spent, he had the perfect response.

Lee’s done letting the Knicks make him look stupid, at least for this year.

The Knicks have now alienated Lee, their most loyal and dedicated fan who has stood by them through years of bad losses and embarrassing issues, which is pretty much the most Knicks thing ever. When the biggest Knicks fan on the face of planet Earth gives up his season tickets because he was treated like crap, it’s a sign of deep organizational rot. A new team president won’t fix anything as long as James Dolan still owns the team.

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