Spike Lee ‘done’ with Knicks this season after flap over which entrance he should use
Spike Lee has been a courtside fixture during New York Knicks games at Madison Square Garden for more than a quarter-century.
But the 62-year-old movie maker says he won’t be there for the remaining 21 games of this season after a run-in with security Monday night over which entrance he should use.
Wearing a Knicks knit cap, Lee appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” on Tuesday morning to discuss the situation. Co-host Stephen A. Smith asked the Oscar winner if he planned on attending any more Knicks games.
“Not this year,” Lee said. “I’m coming back next year, but I’m done for the season. I’m done.”
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Lee also said during the interview that he feels like he’s being “harassed” by the Knicks.
A video circulated during the Knicks’ 125-123 win over the Houston Rockets showing Lee in an altercation with security outside an elevator. Lee said Tuesday that he had entered through the employees entrance, which he said he’s used for more than two decades, but had been asked to leave the building and re-enter through a different entrance.
In the video, Lee can be heard insisting that he hadn’t been informed of a policy change and telling guards to “arrest me like my brother Charles Oakley, ” a reference to the former Knicks player who was removed from his seat in Madison Square Garden by security personnel and arrested after an altercation in 2017.
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Lee eventually made his way to his seat without leaving the building. He said he was approached by Knicks owner James Dolan at halftime to discuss the matter. The Knicks indicated in a statement Tuesday that the conversation ended with the two men shaking hands and agreeing on which entrance Lee should use.
“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 team’s public relations department said in a tweet that also included a photo of Dolan and Lee shaking hands.
New York Knicks Statement on Spike Lee pic.twitter.com/19JcvhFKO7— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 3, 2020
“It’s disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama,” the tweet said. “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.”
Lee responded to the statement in a phone call with New York Times’ Sopan Deb, who related parts the conversation in a series of tweets.
“What’s laughable is how the Knicks are the laughingstock of the league in sports,” Lee told Deb. “That’s what ... laughable.”
According to Deb, Lee said the Knicks never told him about a policy change regarding the entrances before Monday night and when he informed Dolan of this, the owner “very rudely” told him, “Now you know.” Lee added in a text to Deb that the hand shake with Dolan “looks like a setup.”
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