I Am James L. Dolan
So if you’re here reading this, most likely you’ve woken up today a Knicks fan, just like every other day since the first day you decided to become a Knicks fan. Maybe your fandom passed down from a generation or two. Or maybe one night you fell in love with the boys in orange & blue.
It could have been in the 60s with Willis or the 70s due to Clyde. Maybe the draft of Ewing spurred your interest, or the battles against Jordan, Hakeem, or Alonzo in the 90s. Perhaps even some here came to the Knicks through more contemporary players like Stephon Marbury or Jamal Crawford or David Lee or Carmelo Anthony.
Chances are if you are reading this blog on this site, the day Jeremy Lin became a Houston Rocket, you are a Knicks fan. And by supporting the New York Knicks with your money, with your cheers, and with your heart you are supporting whoever wears that uniform. You support the coaches and the general manager. You are supporting whoever owns stock in the team. You are supporting the owner James L. Dolan.
You may have not been in favor of the Knicks jettisoning Jeremy Lin. You may not have been in favor of acquiring Carmelo Anthony. You may not have wanted to lock into Eddy Curry for 6 years or wanted to trade away all financial flexibility for Stephon Marbury. You most likely definitely did not want the Knicks to sexual harass Anucha Browne Sanders, or try to fight her in court so that the organization’s dirty laundry could be aired publicly. You may not have wanted the Knicks to trade a ready-to-retire Patrick Ewing for Glen Rice and Luc Longley, or to send Mark Jackson for He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
But by being a Knick fan today, you stand by that. You stand by all of that. The history, good, bad, or indifferent is now yours by proxy. Because you’re a grown-up, or at worst old enough to know better. You could tomorrow take your New York Knick jerseys, shirts, hats, posters and bobbleheads and put them up on ebay. It’s that easy to quit. You’d not only unload your tchotchkes and your heartache, but you’d probably make some money on the deal. It’s a win-win deal, and would probably be the most sensible thing done in the history of sports.
Additionally, by throwing away your allegiance to the Knicks, you’d be sending the only real message you can to Mr. Dolan & co. To paraphrase Game of Thrones, power is only an illusion. James Dolan can do whatever he wants with his team, because of the money that everyone consciously gives him to do so. If enough people didn’t give him their money willingly, it would stop. And that’s the only power us regular people have. Petitions? Booing? Mocking him on the web? Worthless.
Ever see a kid throw a tantrum with their dad? They can wail away all they want, cry, scream, kick, and really there is nothing they can do to affect the adult. But if that kid hits pops in the crotch with enough force, the old man is going down for a second. Similarly, the only way to get James Dolan to stop is to hit him in the wallet. Hard.
If public embarrassment of switching teams to your Knick friends is holding you back, this season gives you an excellent opportunity. The Brooklyn Nets are new. They’re hip. They’re now legitimately part of New York. You wouldn’t be abandoning your city. You’d be a pioneer. Hip. Fresh. Dope. Whatever expression the kids are using today.
Sacred that your Knick buddies will give you hell? Well the next time the Knicks do something jaw-droppingly stupid, and as a Knicks fan the knot in your stomach is telling you that moment is just around the corner, you’ll be able to give back to them in spades. You’ll win here too. And maybe by being the first to go to the Nets, you’ll be able convert them, which again will chip away at Dolan’s wallet. More winning.
But most likely if you’re read this far, you’re sticking with the Knicks. And by doing so, the thing you may not realize is that you’re the same as them. These years of not being able to win a championship in the biggest market isn’t just misfortune or dumb luck. It’s plain dumb. As long as they have the same owner, they’ll have the same people who make the same mistakes. They won’t change who they are, which is why they make these same mistakes over and over again. They are unwilling to look themselves in the mirror and correct their flaws. And today so are you.
Logically there is no reason to be a Knicks fan, and yet you, we, persist. By acknowledging we are Knicks fans we publicly support the moves of the organization. By watching MSG or buying Knicks gear we give our monetary support to the team. And by staying Knicks fans we share the same stubborn traits that continues to make this team doomed to failure. So as Knicks fans we not only agree with James L. Dolan, but in some deeper way, we become him.