The Internet was abuzz on Monday after Cablevision CEO and Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan lashed out at a frustrated New York Knicks fan, suggesting that he was an alcoholic and telling him to root for the rival NBA Brooklyn Nets “because the Knicks don’t want you.”
According to Deadspin.com, the New York Post and several other media outlets, long-time Knicks fan Irving Bierman – the father of filmmaker Aaron Bierman, sent a heated e-mail to Dolan on Friday, lambasting the Knicks owner for the team’s dismal start and begging him to sell the team. While Bierman, who claimed to be a Knicks fan for 60 years had some harsh words for the team owner, it wasn’t any worse than what Dolan probably hears from the stands while watching games at the Garden.
The screed had little effect on Madison Square Garden stock -- shares were down less than 1% (61 cents each) to $77.50 per share in early trading Monday.
Madison Square Garden, the owner of the Knicks, declined comment.
What was unusual was Dolan’s response. In a heated, typo-filled e-mail -- which sources confirmed was genuine -- that was published by several media outlets, Dolan called the fan “sad,” suggested he may be alcoholic and told him the team doesn’t need fans like him anymore.
“What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice,” Dolan wrote in the e-mail. “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.”
Dolan and the Knicks have been under fire as the team has faltered even after bringing in high-profile former Los Angeles Laker and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson as Knicks president in March in a five-year deal worth $12 million per year.
While the hiring of Jackson was a high point, according to the NY Post, the new president low-balled his choice of a coach – Steve Kerr, the former Turner Sports analyst, Phoenix Suns executive and Chicago Bulls player under Jackson – offering him a three-year deal worth about $13.2 million to coach the team. Kerr signed as head coach of the Golden State Warriors in May in a reported five-year $22 million deal.
The Knicks are in last place in the NBA Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division with a 10-41 record, 24.5 games behind first place.
Dolan, according to reports, has kept a low profile with the Knicks since hiring Jackson, attending most home games but limiting his comments about the team’s predicament. The e-mails come just as the Garden gets ready to host the 64th Annual NBA All-Star game on Feb. 15.
Here is Bierman’s email:
Subject: I have been a knicks fan since 1952
At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from your dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Bringing on Phil Jackson was a positive beginning, but lowballing Steve Kerr was a DISGRACE to the knicks. The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise.
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 Obviously, money IS NOT THE ONLY THING. You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.
[Aaron Bierman's dad]
And Dolan’s response:
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.
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