I have had a long-running aversion to people who were born on third base and thought they hit a triple.
You know what I’m talking about: The sons and daughters of the wealthy (or as I like to refer to them: “The Lucky Sperm Club”) who think that their inherited wealth is an accomplishment, but who lack the smarts and judgment of self-made people.
Who could this be, you ask? Well, today I am averting our gaze from the slow-motion car crash emanating from our new leaders in D.C. (although we can find a basket full of these people there, too).
Instead, let’s focus on the new Public Enemy No. 1 in New York City: Knicks owner Jim Dolan.
Sports franchise owners have been in the news a lot recently: Bob Kraft (New England Patriots) recently dined with the president and Japanese Prime Minister at Mar-a-Lago (White House South) a week after his team dramatically captured its fifth Super Bowl in the last two decades.
Over the weekend, Mike Ilich, the well-liked owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, died after an impressive run as the leader of two small market teams that have been overachievers.
And from America’s most Purple State comes word that the little-respected Florida Marlins owner Jeff Loria is about to sell his team for a whopping profit to Trump’s in-laws, the Kushners.
But here in New York City, what was once the Mecca for basketball has turned into the laughingstock of hoops because of one man: Jim Dolan of the New York Knicks.
Our basketball team is not only among the worst in the country — and has been for many, many years — the Knicks have become a trash heap of dysfunction and bad drama due to the wealthy scion of Cablevision riches.
The latest incident involves a once beloved Knick from a much better era — Charles Oakley — who was dragged from his seat at the Garden by security guards and then defamed by Dolan.
This ugly episode could be dismissed as an isolated spectacle if it didn’t fit in with the pattern of Dolan’s embarrassing tenure as owner. Since he took over the Knicks at the turn of the century, it has been the second worst team in the NBA and a generation of New Yorkers has been robbed of the joy of rooting for a respectable hometown team.
This wouldn’t hurt so much if I didn’t remember the electricity of going to Madison Square Garden in the 1970s to see Frazier, Monroe, Reed, DeBusschere, Bradley — players who made the whole city light up with pride and excitement.
Or the 1990s when the Garden was rocked by Riley’s bombers — Ewing, Oakley, Johnson, Starks and their teammates who were always in the playoff mix but usually thwarted by the gliding superstar Michael Jordan or the big man from Houston, Hakeem Olajouwon.
There has been nothing remotely comparable since Dolan took over the team and it is his bumbling, misguided interference in personnel moves that has doomed the club.
And now comes the classless thuggery and defamation of Oakley, a dedicated team member for a decade in its last era of glory.
Why would star players like LeBron or Durant or Westbrook ever want to play in New York when the owner has the grace of a third-world dictator? How long will my kids have to wait to see a local basketball team make an exciting playoff run into May?
Alas, there is little hope as long as the privileged son of a wealthy family, who himself has never created anything of real value, is in charge of the team’s destiny.
There really should be a way that cities can force sports owners to sell so that this treasured resource can thrive once again.
Here is the only thing that might work: How about a strike by all ticket holders? No one should go to games or spend any more money on the Knicks until Dolan sells the team.
It would be great if all those season-ticket holders who are being ripped off realized that the power of the pocketbook is the only way to create real change.
The resistance at Madison Square Garden should begin right now.
Tom Allon, president of City & State NY, was a Republican and Liberal Party-backed mayoral candidate in 2013 before he left to return to the private sector. Reach him at tallo
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