NBA Legend Patrick Ewing Says Madison Square Garden Security Accosted Him: 'Everyone In This Building Should Know Who The Hell I Am'
The building is now becoming well-known for its security harassing Black legends like Ewing and Spike Lee.
March 12, 2021 at 10:09 pm
Ewing, beloved by New Yorkers for the 15 years he spent playing in the building for the New York Knicks, has his name and number hanging in the rafters. He is considered one of the best players to ever put on a Knicks uniform.
But Ewing told reporters that when he arrived with his Georgetown team for their thrilling Big East tournament game against Villanova, he was stopped by security multiple times.
"I thought this was my building and I feel terrible that I'm getting stopped, accosted, asking for passes," he told the press after his team won the game.
"Everybody in this building should know who the hell I am. I'm getting stopped, I can't move around this building. I was like, 'What the hell? Is this Madison Square Garden?' I'm gonna have to call Mr. [James] Dolan and say 'Jesus, is my number in the rafters or what?'" he added.
The situation put a damper on his team's win in the tournament, one of the biggest of Ewing's coaching career, according to ESPN.
When pressed by ESPN, MSG Entertainment sent a statement saying James Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Madison Square Garden, spoke to Ewing and settled the spat.
"[Dolan] and Patrick have a long-standing relationship; they spoke this afternoon and reaffirmed that. We all know respect and appreciate what he means to The Garden and New York. Good luck to him and his Hoyas in the Big East semi-finals," the statement read.
Despite the fracas, Ewing said he was trying to get his team focused on their semifinal game in the tournament.
“We took another step in my house, by the way,” Ewing said. “This is my house.”
This isn't the first time security at Madison Square Garden has harassed or accosted Black players or those associated with the team.
MSG Entertainment made things even worse by releasing a flippant statement criticizing Lee for using the wrong 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 VIP entrance...is laughable. It's disappointing Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama," the team said in a statement.
Lee later appeared on ESPN's First Take to talk about what happened.
The incident with Lee came after the building's employees had already made headlines over their handling of another Knicks legend. Charles Oakley, who played alongside Ewing and is similarly beloved by New Yorkers, was manhandled and thrown out of the building in 2017.
"What is this man's problem about control? He's so much a control freak. And he's hurting the whole NBA," Oakley later told ESPN about Dolan.
"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," Oakley added.