Thursday, March 05, 2015

Sports Watch: With leadership like this, is it any wonder that the NY Knicks are flying high?


Cablevision President-CEO and Madison Square
Garden Chairman James Dolan -- Whatta guy!

"There’s a little bit of North Korea to the way this team is run."
-- out-of-work lawyer Dennis Doyle, who is committed to
attend every game of the (now 12-48) NY Knicks this season

by Ken

We looked recently at the path-breaking strategy of the financial-typhoon owners of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, the billionaire Wall Street brains who decided to reverse the team's mediocrity by losing as many games as humanly possible. Now it seems only fair to pay tribute to the management of the 76ers' Atlantic Division rival NY Knicks, who at this moment, at 12-48, are actually a half-game worse than the 13-48 Sixers.

The Knicks are overseen by James Dolan, whose qualification is membership in a family that established dominance in cable TV on Long Island. Is it any wonder that the team has has such success since it was entrusted to him by his father?

There are many ways of measuring the Knicks' successes under Dolan's, er, leadership, but perhaps the funniest is told thusly by The New Yorker's Reeves Wiedeman in his March 9 "Talk of the Town" piece, ""
A few weeks ago, Irving Bierman, a seventy-two-year-old Brooklyn native, sent an e-mail to James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks. “As a Knicks fan for in excess of sixty years, I am utterly embarrassed,” Bierman wrote. The team had the N.B.A.’s worst record even before Carmelo Anthony, its best player, decided that knee surgery sounded more appealing than finishing a season in which ESPN had replaced a scheduled Knicks broadcast with a celebrity bowling tournament. Last week, Phil Jackson, the team’s president and resident mystic, declared that the Knicks were giving the basketball gods “heartburn.” Bierman went on, “You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.” The stress of the season seemed to have got to Dolan, too. He responded to Bierman personally. “You are a sad person. . . . I’ll bet your life is a mess,” Dolan wrote in an e-mail that was reprinted by Deadspin, and went on to insinuate that Bierman had a drinking problem, while trumpeting his own sobriety of twenty-one years. “Start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks don't want you."
Wow, what class! Whatta guy!

Reeves proceeds to tell us about an authentic Knicks superfan, lawyer Dennis Doyle. Irving Bierman, he tells us, is now out of the fray, living in Myrtle Beach, where he "hasn't suffered through any games in person this season."
The same cannot be said for Dennis Doyle, a thirty-two-year-old graduate of Georgetown Law School, who, last spring, got dumped by his girlfriend, lost his job, and somehow made things worse by deciding this was all a sign that he should deplete his savings in order to attend every single one of the Knicks’ games this season. His sister, a life coach, gave her blessing; his father, a lawyer, did not. As is the modern man’s wont, Doyle started a blog documenting his journey. A recent post began, “This is starting to get difficult.

“My timing has never been great,” Doyle said, settling into his seat at the Garden before a recent game. He was referring both to his mid-recession law-school graduation -- the only job he could find was one representing co-ops in disputes with hot-dog venders operating too close to their entrances -- and to the fact that he had spent twenty-five thousand dollars on flights, hotels, and tickets. Doyle’s costs rise with each palliative arena beer, but he had come down with a bug that day, and was popping Tylenol instead. “This is my flu game,” Doyle said. He wore a down jacket with a fur-trimmed hood, which he kept on, and shielded his eyes as strobes went off during the roster introductions. “If I’m lucky, I’ll have a seizure,” he said, between sniffles.

With the season lost, Doyle had been trying to enjoy the travel. When the Knicks played in London, in the middle of a sixteen-game losing streak, he took an extra day to visit Stonehenge. (“Still a mystery why its architects engaged in such a laborious endeavor,” he said. “I can relate.”) At a casino in Cleveland, where Doyle was trying to recoup his losses, he spotted Charles Oakley, his all-time favorite Knick, at a craps table. “I got a pretty blank stare,” Doyle said, describing Oakley’s reaction upon hearing about his quest. Morris Bart, a personal-injury attorney in Louisiana, was more empathetic after reading Doyle’s blog, and offered him courtside seats for the Knicks game in New Orleans, on the condition that Doyle submit to a lecture about why he should return to the law.

Doyle hoped to avoid that fate, but he said that he was prepared to offer his services, pro bono, to a cause advocated in an op-ed in the Observer by a fellow-lawyer, who cited court decisions from three different centuries to argue that New York City could use eminent domain to take over the Knicks as a blighted property. “There’s a little bit of North Korea to the way this team is run,” Doyle said. He suspected the team of attempting to pacify the masses -- the frequency of in-game T-shirt tosses seemed to increase as the season wore on -- and hoped that a pseudoscandal like Dolan’s intemperate e-mail would foment regime change. “What I wouldn’t give for him to get caught up in some kind of Donald Sterling thing,” Doyle said. (Adam Silver, the N.B.A.’s commissioner, declined to sanction Dolan’s behavior. “Jim is a consummate New Yorker,” Silver wrote. “Jim got an unkind email and responded with an unkind email.”)

Doyle had passed the season’s halfway point, and remained committed to attending every game, despite the fact that he had yet to find a single friend who was willing to join him at the Garden. He had, however, found an agent, who sees promise in a blog-to-book deal, and has told him not to worry about the mounting losses. “At this point, it’s actually in my best interest to root against the team,” Doyle said, noting the market for books about overcoming adversity. “Hopefully, the suffering resonates.”

Labels: ,


At 6:27 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

This is a good read i'm a Knicks fan myself it really is a bad year for us & unfortunately i'm no fan of Dolan either. We'll do better next year.

Thanks Ken.

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sports teams are little more than court jesters who perform for economic kings, greedy moochers who palm off all real costs (like stadia) on the people they gouge for tickets to attend performances of the athletic circus.


Post a Comment

<< Home