Film director and New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee has blasted Madison Square Garden security for hassling Patrick Ewing, the Georgetown basketball coach who was involved in an incident earlier this week.
Ewing, a Knicks legend whose jersey hangs in the rafters of the world’s most famous arena, claimed he was “accosted” by security on Thursday while he prepared to coach Georgetown in the Big East Tournament.
Lee underwent similar problems with MSG security before, and vented on ESPN’s First Take that hassling Ewing at the Garden was inexcusable. Lee’s incident occurred when he was asked to use another entrance to the arena instead of the employee’s entrance that he claimed he had used for 28 years.
“I’m not blaming this on [James] Dolan,” Lee said referring to the Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment and executive chairman of MSG Networks. “There has to be something just wrong at Madison Square Garden. Can any of you imagine Derek Jeter being stopped entering Yankee Stadium? Magic Johnson being stopped entering the Staples Center? Michael Jordan – the G.O.A.T. – being stopped entering the United Center? WTF!”
Lee added: “The indignity, the disrespect, even if I’m a young kid born after Patrick was with the Knicks’ glory years, he’s 7-foot-2!” Lee said. “And you tell me there is no one in the vicinity as Patrick is going through the metal detector to say, ‘Yo, you, that’s Patrick. Let him through.’ How does that happen? I don’t understand it. That’s not going to happen at Yankee Stadium. There has to be some common sense.”
An MSG Entertainment spokesman responded.
“Jim and Patrick have a long-standing relationship; they spoke this afternoon and reaffirmed that. We all know, respect and appreciate what he means to The Garden and New York. Good luck to him and his Hoyas in the Big East semi-finals.”
Ewing is not the first Knicks star to have a falling out with the team. Ewing’s former teammate, Charles Oakley, was forcibly removed from MSG in 2017 and arrested.