Even on a rare good night for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, something always has to go wrong.
Cameras caught director and notable Knicks fan Spike Lee arguing with Madison Square Garden security, who were withholding him from entering the arena, as he was trying to make his way to his courtside seats Monday night.
“I’ve been using the same entrance for 20-plus years — the employee’s entrance on 33rd Street,” Lee said on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday. “I go in, my ticket is scanned. I’m in. I go into the elevator… and the elevator’s not moving. Then a security guard comes in and tells me I have to get on the elevator.”
“They finally send it up because they know that I’m not getting out of the elevator. The Garden floor [the court] is on the fifth floor. The elevator goes up to five and security is waiting for me like I ran out of Macy’s stealing something.”
While Lee did make it to his seat to see the Knicks take down the Houston Rockets, the beef between him and team owner James Dolan isn’t subsiding anytime soon.
Lee even went as far as saying that he’s being “harassed,” by Dolan.
“This comes from the top,” Lee said, referring to the Knicks’ owner. “So this security guy says ‘Mr. Lee, you have to leave Madison Square Garden.’ They wanted me to leave the Garden, walk outside… and come back in on 31st St. First of all, they scanned my ticket, and you can’t do that twice. Also, I know when you leave a sporting event, you can’t come back in so I don’t trust these guys… I put my hands behind my back and said ‘arrest me like my brother Charles Oakley.'”
Oakley was thrown out of MSG and arrested during a Knicks game in February of 2017 where he claimed Dolan had it out for him after the former forward made comments about the team’s ineptitude.
While he sued Dolan and the Knicks in September of that year for defamation, assault, false imprisonment, and other related charges, Dolan won the case last month.
“At halftime, Dolan comes over to me and says ‘We need to talk,'” Lee said. “I said, ‘Mr. Dolan, I don’t want to talk about nothing.'”
A Knicks statement said the dispute was just a misunderstanding and that Lee and Dolan worked things out at halftime that apparently included a handshake and some laughs, according to the team.
“It’s Garden spin,” Lee said.
“They never told me anything. Why not call me? When my deposit’s due, this astronomical price for Knicks tickets, and I’m one day late, my phone is ringing off the hook.”
Lee spends a reported $300,000 per year on Knicks tickets but made it clear that he won’t be returning to Madison Square Garden for the rest of the season.
Dolan and the Knicks hit back Tuesday afternoon, releasing a statement calling out Lee’s comments.
“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.”