The New York Knicks’ most high-profile fan Spike Lee is done supporting his team for the season..
The famed 62-year-old director, who has attended Knicks games for decades, has declared he will no longer attend the NBA team’s games at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks’ home base, after an alleged incident with security guards and team owner James Dolan.
The incident went down Monday night before the game when Lee was seen surrounded by security guards, as seen in this viral video.
He later claimed on ESPN’s First Takes show they were “harassing” him for using the same entrance he’s been using for the last 28 years to attend games and events at the famed venue.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Spike Lee
Lee appeared on the show on Tuesday morning, where he also confirmed he wouldn’t be attending any more home games.
“I’m being harassed by James Dolan. I don’t know why,” Lee said on the show.
After his appearance, the New York Knicks released a statement, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” the NBA team said. “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.”
Mike Lawrence/USTA Spike Lee
In an interview with The New York Times‘ basketball reporter Sopan Deb, Lee called the statement a “lie” and denied ever being told to use a different entrance into the venue.
“Anything the Knicks say, it’s going to be a lie. I challenge you to get the answers,” Lee said. “I want Madison Square Garden to produce an email before I arrived at the Garden yesterday saying, ‘Mr. Lee, you could no longer use the employee entrance’ … It never happened.”
Lee also confirmed he gave his season tickets away, but will be back next year to see his beloved team.
A transcript of how my conversation with Spike Lee began: pic.twitter.com/XLQEy0aIkl— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) March 3, 2020
Though Lee initially denied shaking Dolan’s hand, as the statement from the team says, a picture of the exchange was released by the team. This led Lee to text Deb that he believes he was set up for the photo.
MORE: Spike Lee just texted me to say that he thinks he was "set up" with the handshake photo.— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) March 3, 2020
This is turning out to be a really odd Super Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/ALQAMBEVpF
“I stand corrected. Do not remember shaking Dolan’s hand. My head was spinning,” the text reads. “However this picture looks like a set up. Notice the angle. You can see the 30 second clock which [sits] atop the backyard. It was taken from the rood of The Garden, by a Garden photographer. This picture was Planned. It was put in motion that Dolan came to [sit] and speak with me at the half.”