Sportress of Blogitude

Knicks draw smallest crowd at Madison Square Garden since Dec. 13, 2006

The New York Knicks organization’s nightmarish week took another turn for the worse on Wednesday night, as the beleaguered NBA team drew the smallest crowd at Madison Square Garden for a game in 13 1/2 years.

The announced crowd for Wednesday’s 112-104 loss to the Utah Jazz was 16,588, a far cry below MSG’s 19,812 capacity for NBA games. What’s worse, there appeared to be far more empty seats in the arena than what the announced attendance suggested.

The last time the Knicks drew such a troublingly low amount of fans — the Garden was only filled to 84% capacity Wednesday night — was all the way back on Dec. 13, 2006, which was over 500 regular-season games ago.

Wednesday’s lackluster showing by fans was only the latest embarrassing development for the long-suffering organization in recent days. The week started with a very public feud with longtime superfan Spike Lee, who claimed he was being “harassed” by the Knicks amid a disagreement over which gate he was allowed to use to enter Madison Square Garden.

Lee went on to say the Knicks are a “laughingstock” as the war of words between the director and team escalated. The drama between Lee and the Knicks prompted Charles Oakley — who has had his own issues with the team — to make inflammatory remarks in reaction to the situation.

The Knicks legend called embattled Knicks owner James Dolan a “control freak” who runs the Knicks like a “plantation” during a radio interview.

Finally, if drawing a surprisingly small crowd on Wednesday wasn’t bad enough, the Knicks organization finds itself again under scrutiny amid conflicting claims that fans were ejected from the arena during Wednesday’s game over engaging in “Sell the Team” chants directed at the much-maligned Dolan.

Sadly, the Lee firestorm, a condemnation by a team icon and yet another ugly dispute with fans arguably signify business as usual for perhaps the most dysfunctional organization in all of sports. The only thing that makes this train wreck of a week so remarkable is how quickly things spiraled out of control.