Live

Watch CBSN Live

Spike Lee says he's being "harassed" by Knicks owner James Dolan

Die-hard New York Knicks fan and famed director Spike Lee said Tuesday he's being "harassed" by team owner James Dolan. In an interview with ESPN, Lee said he won't be attending any more games for the remainder of the season.

Before the Knicks' 125-123 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday, a viral video showed Lee arguing with security as he tried to enter Madison Square Garden through the employee entrance. The Oscar-winning director said he'd been using the entrance for 28 years and he wasn't notified of a change.

Lee said his ticket was scanned before he was told to leave the stadium and re-enter from another entrance. Instead of going outside, Lee said he was escorted to his seat. 

"I'm being harassed by James Dolan and I don't know why," Lee told ESPN.

During the exchange, Lee said he brought up an incident involving former Knicks legend Charles Oakley, who was infamously removed from the stadium in 2017. Oakley has been banned from the building ever since. 

Knicks Spike LeeBasketball
Spike Lee gestures in a hallway on the event level at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 2, 2020.  Kathy Willens / AP

At halftime, Lee could be seen speaking with Dolan at his seat. "I said, 'Mr. Dolan, I don't wanna talk about nothing! I have been coming through this entrance for 28 years," Lee recalled, adding that he had used the same entrance last week. 

The Knicks issued a statement Tuesday, saying the idea that Lee is a victim is "laughable." They shared a photo of the entrance along with a distant picture of Dolan and Lee appearing to shake hands.

"It's disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama," the statement said. "He is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; not just throughout our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim agreed to last night when they shook hands." 

Lee, however, dismissed the Knicks' version of the incident, calling it a "spin." 

Lee, who reportedly spends about $300,000 a year on his tickets at Madison Square Garden, said he won't be present for any more games this season. "I'm coming back next year, but I'm done for the season," Lee told ESPN. "I'm done."

The Knicks currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a record of 19-42. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue