Ethan Hawke says James Dolan took away his Knicks tickets after he publicly criticized the team
Hawke wasn't fond of the Knicks' decision to fire Mike D'Antoni, and his criticisms had consequences
The New York Knicks have been one of the NBA's biggest punchlines over the past few decades, and they've earned their fair share of criticisms. Those criticisms haven't come without serious consequences for some fans, though.
For example, actor Ethan Hawke.
The "Training Day" star appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast this week to discuss a plethora of topics, including his basketball fandom. Hawke grew up in New York and was a longtime Knicks fan. Eventually, he was able to use his fame and clout to score free tickets from the team.
But that changed a handful of years ago when the team fired coach Mike D'Antoni. Hawke was apparently not a fan of the move, and he was publicly vocal about it. Knicks owner James Dolan caught wind of Hawke's critiques and decided that the actor was no longer worthy of free tickets.
Here's the transcript of Hawke telling the story to Simmons:
Hawke: I've been a Knicks fan for a long time, but I got kicked out of the Garden. They won't give me tickets anymore.
Simmons: What are you talking about?
Hawke: I'm being serious. I'm being dead serious. I really was vocal on some talk shows like this that I thought it was a huge mistake to let Mike (D'Antoni) go and I would have bet on Mike (D'Antoni) before I bet on Melo.
It was not over Melo, but over – there was something genuinely exciting. The first thing that had been exciting since Jeff Van Gundy left in the Garden with the Knicks was Linsanity.
Simmons: Linsanity was incredible.
Hawke: It was absolutely incredible in the way that the organization didn't fan the flames and let Mike do what he wanted to do. Let these guys run. Let them play ball. And instead, Mike's on his way to the Western Conference Final. And, you know, the Garden's empty.
But I have been left team-less. The point is that I'm not wanted and I don't go where I'm not wanted. It's hard to be a fan for a place that doesn't like you.
Simmons: Well, one person doesn't like you.
Hawke: One person who owns (the team) … I called up one night and they said it would be $7,800. I was like, "Oh, um, oh, why is this the first time you guys are charging me?" They said that you should have thought of that before you went on the Jimmy Fallon Show. I was like, "Wow, this is real." So I've apologized publicly many times to try and get my seats again.
While that might seem like a petty move by Dolan, it's still his team and he reserves the right to give free tickets to whoever he chooses. He also has the right to deny tickets to whoever he chooses. Those are the luxuries that come with being the boss.
However, being the boss of a sports organization also always comes with criticisms, especially when your team is garbage. It seems rather clear that Dolan isn't exceptional at running a great basketball operation, so blacklisting Hawke after he made a few unflattering comments about the team comes off as thin-skinned on Dolan's part.
In any case, Hawke hasn't let the ordeal kill his love for basketball, even if he's a man without a favorite team. He's been spotted courtside at Nets games recently, and has started rooting for LeBron James since his return to Cleveland in 2014.
When you think about it, not having to watch the Knicks doesn't seem all that terrible a price to pay. Dolan might be as bad at punishments as he is as running a basketball team.
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