Knicks legend Patrick Ewing played at Madison Square Garden (MSG) for 15 years, but the Hall of Famer has been treated like a stranger in his old stomping grounds. Ewing said during a press conference on Thursday that during the Big East Tournament, he was frequently stopped by staff who didn't know who he was.
Ewing, who is now the head coach for Georgetown, was at MSG for the team's game against Villanova. Georgetown won, but Ewing was not treated like a winner. He said he was asked to show his passes so many times that he considered calling Knicks owner Jim Dolan, MSG Entertainment executive chairman and CEO.
"I thought this was my building and I feel terrible that I'm getting stopped, accosted, asking for passes. Everybody in this building should know who the hell I am," Ewing told reporters on Thursday. "And I'm getting stopped. I can't move around this building like, I was, like, what the hell? Is this Madison Square Garden? I'm going to have to call Mr. Dolan and say geez, is my number in the rafters or what?"
Ewing's number is, in fact, hanging in the rafters of MSG. The 11-time NBA All Star played for Georgetown before being first pick overall in the 1985 NBA draft. He played on the Knicks from 1985 to 2000.
In a statement to CBS News, an MSG Entertainment spokesman said: "Jim 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."
CBS News has reached out to Ewing for comment.
Back in 2017, Knicks legend Charles Oakley had an altercation with a security guard at Madison Square Garden, and was ultimately arrested, CBS Sports reports. "I didn't do nothing!" Oakley said during his arrest, according to Sports Illustrated. "Dolan did this... This is bulls***."
He later told The Athletic: "This man told the security guards to throw me out for no reason... I was banned twice in eight months."
Many Twitter users compared Ewing and Oakley's incidents.
"I'm staying right here! Now, if you want to arrest me like Charles Oakley, then go ahead," Lee is heard saying in a video of the altercation.
Lee later said on ESPN that he would no longer attend Knicks games. "I'm being harassed by James Dolan, and I don't know why," Lee said. "How is it the wrong entrance if I've been using the same entrance for 28 years! It's Garden spin!"
The Knicks said in a statement at the time: "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."