Well, James Dolan certainly kicked off All-Star week here in New York in a classy way, huh?
In case you missed it, the Garden CEO had a venomous reply in an e-mail to a long-time Knicks fan, who unloaded on Dolan for how he’s conducted business for the last 15-odd seasons as owner/chief meddler of the Knicks.
Instead of taking the high road and saying something along the lines of, “while you have every right to be disappointed in what’s gone on in the past, we’re hopeful that Phil Jackson will get us turned around and give you and all other tried-and-true Knicks fans a reason to cheer in the future,’’ Dolan responded with arrogance mixed with scorn. Not a good combination, especially here as we begin All-Star week. But not very surprising, either.
The Knicks fan in question is the father of filmmaker Aaron Bierman and describes himself as a loyal team supporter since 1952. In addition to begging Dolan to sell the team (something that Dolan has no intention of doing, ever) the highlights of Irving Bierman’s e-mail include these lines:
“The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise.”
“As a knicks (sic) fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks.”
“You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise.”
I don’t know which line got Dolan’s goat. It could have been any. They pretty much all rang true, since Dolan has been in charge of a paranoid and dysfunctional franchise. He hasn’t appeared in public to talk about the Knicks since the team hired Jackson last March. He’s not running to do any interviews, either, seeing how Jackson so far has been an epic failure as a first-time NBA executive in charge of building a team. As Jackson himself recently admitted, he’s fallen flat on his face.
He also used the word “experiment’’ to describe what he is conducting, which Dolan couldn’t have been happy about. He paid Jackson $60 million over five seasons to get the franchise turned around -- not to conduct an experiment.
So it can’t be surprising that Dolan isn’t very pleased by what has been transpiring, especially when Jackson told his boss, Bierman and all Knick fans at the start of training camp that the Knicks could be a playoff team. But here we are with the Knicks with the worst record in the NBA, at 10-41 and that might account for Dolan's nasty mood.
But Dolan went overboard when he responded to Irving Bierman. His reply is filled with typos, but the message is both rude and undeniable. Dolan wrote:
“You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.’’
That last line is very fitting for where we are now, the start of All-Star week. It’s a joint effort between the Knicks and Nets, with the Nets hosting the Friday and Saturday events in Brooklyn and the Knicks rolling out the red carpet for the 64th annual All-Star Game on Sunday.
Classy way to start the week, Jimmy.
Longtime New York columnist Mitch Lawrence continues to write about pro basketball, as he’s done for the last 22 years. His columns for NBCNewYork.com on the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and the NBA, along with other major sports, will appear twice weekly. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch _ Lawrence.