James Dolan has struck again.
The capricious New York Knicks owner has banned Oscar-winning director Woody Allen from Suite 200, the VIP lounge at Madison Square Garden reserved for various celebrities, according to the New York Post's Richard Johnson:
Sources say Dolan had the Oscar-winning director banned from Suite 200, the VIP lounge at Madison Square Garden, after Allen refused to do any promotion for MSG Network or the Garden of Dreams Foundation.
Allen had been a regular for years in the suite, where models, pop stars and pro athletes gather before games and at halftime for free drinks and food.
Allen was apparently banned after the MSG channel purchased the rights to some of his movies and he refused to talk about them on the air. His lack of contributions to Dolan's charity, Garden of Dreams, was cited as a driving force behind Dolan's decision as well, per Johnson:
“Woody said he would not be comfortable doing that. He has never done that for any show or network. They then said that this was a ‘reciprocal arrangement’ and that if Woody couldn’t go on TV for them, he should not eat in their VIP restaurant anymore. Woody said fine and thanked them for the many years he had enjoyed the space there.”
A Garden spokesman politely declined to comment but pointed out that Allen — unlike Spike Lee (who has worked on documentaries about the team) and Matthew Modine — has never done anything to help the team or Dolan’s youth charity, Garden of Dreams (of which Modine is a board member).
This is only a rumor and could prove untrue, but where there's smoke, there's usually fire. And Dolan.
Dolan has spearheaded a number of controversial, downright ridiculous movements during his time at the helm in New York. In 2013-14 alone, he's had the Knicks aggressively shop Iman Shumpert, according to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola, who also reported that Dolan was pressuring head coach Mike Woodson to bench the third-year guard in favor of Kenyon Martin.
On top of that, Dolan also held court with the New York Post's Mike Vaccaro, making himself "available" to the media for the first time since 2007. During the interview, Dolan deliberately came across as a fiercely loyal owner who respected everyone not named Glen Grunwald; he inadvertently came off as a self-serving martyr, too.
Point is, banning Allen from a large room teeming with delicious spreads and famous personalities is hardly out of the realm of possibility for Dolan, who has always had a "what can you do for me?" aura about him.
He expects the world from everyone around him, including his imperfectly constructed team. It's no surprise, then, that his ruthless sense of entitlement spills into the stands and onto the laps of courtside heavyweights.
When you're in his building, sitting in his seats, watching his (struggling) team, he expects something from you.
Normal fans, you're supposed to sit down and shut up. And pay for your overpriced tickets. Trust that Dolan will lead the Knicks to greatness when all he's succeeded in doing is just the opposite.
Other, more well-known supporters—the Spike Lees and Matthew Modines—be ready to do the occasional favor and engage in some serious butt-kissing. Or else.
"What’s that expression — ‘familiarity breeds contempt?'" one businessman, who was also banned entry from Suite 200, told Johnson. "They’re like the bad maitre d’s of the old days.”
Banishing a guy like Allen from their team's exclusive club would be a new low for most NBA owners. Sadly, for Dolan, it's merely a precedented middle.