He’s Gotta Have It: Spike Lee Says He’ll No Longer Attend New York Knicks Games Because He Can’t Use Employees’ Entrance
The Knicks issued a statement, saying longtime superfan Spike Lee is making himself a victim.
March 04, 2020 at 7:58 pm
Spike Lee said he will no longer be attending New York Knicks games after being turned away from the employee entrance. The film director is now feuding with the team owner, saying for 28 years he's used the employee entrance without any problems.
According to NBA insider Chris Haynes, the Knicks issued a statement Tuesday, saying the longtime superfan is making himself a victim because he wasn't allowed to enter Madison Square Garden through the employee entrance.
"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 Knicks stated. "It's disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama."
Knicks issue statement on Spike Lee, calling his claim as a victim “laughable.” You don’t see these type of “statements” often from professional sports teams. pic.twitter.com/vp1Pp261lz— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 3, 2020
Lee told his side of the story on ESPN's First Take.
"The last 28 years, I have been using the employees' entrance," Lee said. "For 28 years, I go down the ramp. All of a sudden, they said 'there's a new policy.' Out of nowhere." Lee said he refused to get off the elevator after he was asked by security to do so.
"They wanted me to leave the Garden, walk outside ... and come back on 31st Street. And I said I'm not doing that," he said.
According to CNN, the employee entrance on 33rd Street is two blocks north of the VIP entrance. The filmmaker added that "he's being harassed" by Knicks owner James Dolan.
The Knicks tweeted a photo of Lee and Dolan appearing to shake hands, but the 62-year-old said the team is not telling the truth.
New York Knicks Statement on Spike Lee pic.twitter.com/19JcvhFKO7— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 3, 2020
"I wasn't shaking his hand," he said.
In a video posted to Twitter, Lee can be heard arguing with security.
"No one told me," he said. "I'm staying here. You wanna arrest me like Charles Oakley."
The producer was referencing the team's conflict with former NBA forward Charles Oakley, who was ejected and banned from the arena in 2017. Oakley shared his thoughts on the altercation between Lee and the Knicks, placing the blame on Dolan.
"What is this man's problem about control? He's so much a control freak. And he's hurting the whole NBA," Oakley told ESPN. "If I'm an owner in the NBA, this guy headlines every other month, every other week, with something that don't have nothing to do with winning. It's got to do with individuals, people's life. We shouldn't be going through this."
According to the Knicks statement, Lee 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."
However, Lee seems adamant about not returning to any games this season.
"I'm coming back next year, but I'm done for the season," he said.