Spike Lee likens Knicks owner James Dolan to Donald Trump
The relationship between onetime superfan Spike Lee and the New York Knicks has completely deteriorated, to put it mildly. Amid the ongoing animosity, the esteemed director has issued another salvo by unflatteringly comparing owner James Dolan to President Donald Trump.
During an appearance Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take,” Lee likened Dolan’s approach to handling the fallout from the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody to Trump’s infamous “both sides” remark when addressing the rally that drew white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
“That sounds like the guy in the White House commenting on what happened in Charlottesville, that there were good guys on both sides,” Lee said on the ESPN program, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“For me, that’s the same thing. That’s the same mentality.”
The Knicks were the last NBA team to issue a formal statement regarding Floyd’s death, and Lee slammed Dolan and the organization over the delay and how the owner instead sent out a widely panned internal memo to MSG employees.
The choice to do so in lieu of releasing an official statement reportedly left Knicks players and staffers “furious” as a result.
One week later, the Knicks issued a public statement that was met with widespread derision.
“Every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and equal society, where there is no racism, bigotry, violence or hate,” the statement read. “We stand with all who act for positive change.”
Lee remarked that the pervasive organizational dysfunction overseen by Dolan “does not make it easy for me to be a Knicks fan.”
The bitter disconnect between Lee and the Knicks reached a boiling point earlier this year due to an incident at Madison Square Garden during which Lee claimed he was “harassed” by arena security.
Lee later castigated the Knicks as the “laughingstock” of the NBA, but it sounds like he still somehow holds out hope his relationship with the team can be salvageable.
“My love for the orange and blue overrides everything else,” Lee said.