The most well-known New York Knicks fan is hanging up his Knicks jersey for the season. Filmmaker (and arguably New York’s best-known Brooklynite) Spike Lee has officially given up his courtside seat at Madison Square Garden, according to the Associated Press.
The Oscar-winning writer-director and famed No. 1 Knicks fan told ESPN’s First Take that he will not attend another Knicks home game this season. According to Lee, Madison Square Garden security wouldn’t allow Lee to enter the Knicks’ home court through the employees’ entrance.
Lee, who had been accustomed to entering through the employees’ gate for years as a season ticket holder, was directed to use the celebrity entrance located two blocks away. “I’m coming back next year, but I’m done for the season,” said Lee.
Former New York Knicks player, Charles Oakley, who had been arrested by Garden officials some time ago in a dispute with Knicks owner, James Dolan, had this to say, “Spike means a lot to New York. All the boroughs. He’s a game-changer for black movies, black superstars. He gave a lot of people chances to better themselves. This wasn’t fair,” Oakley told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “You’re cheating the people of New York when you do something like that to a New York native. I know he was born in Georgia but he’s been here long enough.”
“They never said when the thing changed, so why not call me?” Lee added. “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 Knicks PR team response via Twitter essentially placed the blame on the team’s most famous fan.
New York Knicks Statement on Spike Lee pic.twitter.com/19JcvhFKO7
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 3, 2020
“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.”