It’s happened to all of us. Someone sends you a mean tweet, or stuffs a cruel note in your locker or writes a lengthy email calling into question the way you’ve run a major sports franchise for the better part of 16 years. Most of us are smart/sane/sentient enough to let these petty indignities roll off our backs. But most of us aren’t James Dolan.
Yes, the oft-criticized CEO of Cablevision, the New York Knicks and (presumably) blues-rock band JD & the Straight Shot is once again in the news, this time for ripping into a fan that had the temerity to question Dolan’s leadership of the team.
Seems Dolan was on the receiving end of a harsh (though not entirely unfair) email from a longtime Knicks supporter who took particular umbrage with his failure to hire Steve Kerr as head coach this offseason. Instead, Kerr ended up with the Golden State Warriors, leading them to a league-best 40-9 record, while the Knicks have sunk to a 10-41 mark under the guidance of Derek Fisher (Sidenote: GOOD CHOICE, STEVE). The email’s author – identified only as filmmaker Aaron Bierman‘s father – went on to say, “As a Knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks. Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction.”
Given that he runs two despised institutions in New York City – Cablevision is definitely the Knicks of cable providers – you’d think Dolan would have developed a thick skin by now. After all, no matter what Taylor Swift tells you, the official motto of NYC is “You Suck.” Turns out, his hide is thinner than Amar’e Stoudemire’s knee cartilage. Here’s Dolan’s reply, in full:
You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.
Now, even if you choose to ignore his colossal miscalculations on everyone from Jerome James and Eddy Curry to Isiah Thomas and Mike D’Antoni, or overlook that one time he wrote a song called “Under That Hood” about Trayvon Martin, then booked his band to open for the Eagles at Madison Square Garden, you can’t deny this email is proof that judgment isn’t exactly Dolan’s strong suit. In that regard, it’s a lapse on par with Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert’s infamous “Open Letter” to fans following LeBron James’ departure in 2010 – the byproduct of a bruised ego turning blue with rage. Though, as is the case with most things Dolan does, there’s also a vindictive, cartoonish level of villainy to the whole thing. He wants his detractor to know he’s not only better off without him, but he’s better than him, too.
Maybe it’s the way he accuses a lifelong Knicks fan of being an alcoholic, then signs the email “Respectfully.” Or how he transfers his own weakness – a reported addiction to drugs – onto someone else, then holds his triumph over that weakness above their head. Perhaps it’s when Dolan dismisses a complete stranger with the old “What have you ever done with your life?” refrain, when his greatest accomplishment is being the son of the guy who founded Cablevision.
Is Dolan merely projecting his own insecurities? Or is he actually an awful person? Probably both. The irony of this entire situation is, had he just chosen to ignore the email – a tack he (or one of his assistants) presumably takes on the hundreds of similar messages he no doubt receives on a daily basis – we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all. But now, Dolan’s latest mistake is out there for the world to see, and like the Carmelo Anthony contract, it’s not going away any time soon. Here’s definitive proof he’s not only the worst owner in the NBA, he’s the league’s worst person – the petty, petulant, mean-spirited son of a billionaire who possesses paper-thin skin, a tenuous grasp on reality and an outsize ego. Oh, and he writes like a five year old.
I say that respectfully, of course.