Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of basketball. Every young player has dreamt of playing in it someday due to its history, the fans, and the marketing potential the city has to offer. But superstars such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving have spurned the chances of playing for the New York Knicks. Here’s why.
LeBron James: “That's why I'm never going to New York”
Charles Oakley revealed some details in his new memoir entitled “The Last Enforcer” about a meeting with New York Knicks owner James Dolan that left an impression on LeBron James in 2014. Big Oak claimed he was introduced to Dolan via William Wesley but the Knicks president wouldn’t even recognize him nor shake his hands.
"You would have thought I did something to his wife," Oakley wrote. "Sh--, Latrell Sprewell, who played five seasons with the Knicks, cursed at Dolan in front of Dolan's wife when he returned to face the Knicks back in 2003, and they still became friends. I didn't do anything to this man. What did I ever say that was so bad that he would ignore me like that? I wondered. Man, I wanted to hit him in the head.
"I walked back to LeBron and said, 'This mother---er (Dolan) wouldn't shake my hand,'" Oakley continued. "All LeBron said was: 'This is why I'm never going to New York.'"
Before LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, it was widely believed he would consider the Knicks. Dolan was confident in landing The King and Dwyane Wade but we all knew what happened next.
In the case of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, many believed they would also consider New York as their next team. Instead, they signed for rivals Brooklyn Nets. Reports revealed New York wasn’t ready to offer a max contract to Durant due to his Achilles injury which was a valid concern for any front office but the joke’s on Dolan as KD returned to his old, devastating self.
James Dolan robbing Knicks fans of having a competitive team
Just imagine the scenario had Dolan played his cards right: LeBron, KD, Kyrie and a lot of superstars could have signed for the Knicks. But Dolan is Dolan and fans have questioned why he still calls the shots despite years of being the joke of the NBA.
In the case of Oakley, who played for the Knicks for 10 seasons, he felt Dolan didn’t treat him, Patrick Ewing and Anthony Mason the same way Allan Houston and John Starks have been treated. Starks and Houston are doing jobs related to the Knicks.
It just goes on to show how Dolan is to the players, past and present. If the fans wonder why the team failed to build respectable teams in the past, they all know who to blame for it.