Madison Square Garden’s security protocols came for Charles Oakley, Spike Lee and now even the great Patrick Ewing.
One day after Ewing vented during a postgame interview that he was “accosted” by security at the arena Thursday while preparing to coach Georgetown in the Big East Tournament, Lee went on ESPN’s “First Take” to further the argument of disrespect against the Knicks legend.
“I’m not blaming this on [James] Dolan,” Lee said. “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!”
While some hourly employee likely was just following orders in a time of heightened security at arenas, Lee, the film director and Knicks superfan, is heated because it is a repeat issue. Lee said Ewing was “hot” when they talked Thursday.
A year ago, just before the NBA season shut down due to COVID-19, Lee had a run-in with MSG security because he tried to use the employee’s entrance that he said he had gone through for 28 years. Security asked him to use another door. He said he was “done” with the Knicks at that point and Friday added that his situation “came from the top.”
Ewing’s name and number hangs in the rafters at MSG, and his 15-year run with the team ended after the 1999-2000 season.
“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.”
Ewing’s former Knicks teammate, Charles Oakley, was arrested after an altercation when he was forcefully removed from MSG in 2017.
“My mindset is that stuff that happened before, I’m peace and love, trying to move forward,” Lee said. “The last thing I wanted to do was be involved somehow with Dolan again. It wasn’t my fault and now the whole thing has happened again. I thought this story would be dead between me and Dolan.”
Ewing returns to MSG to coach Georgetown against Seton Hall in the Big East semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday night.