James Dolan didn't sell the New York Knicks when the team was mired in a sexual harassment lawsuit. He didn't sell the Knicks when they missed the playoffs six years in a row at the beginning of his tenure, and he didn't sell the Knicks when they missed the playoffs seven years in a row later on in his tenure. He didn't sell the Knicks even after facing public backlash for kicking team legend Charles Oakley out of Madison Square Garden. Every time the Knicks, mired in a two-and-a-half decade slump, face any adversity, fans of the team call for the owner to sell. And every time, he tells them no.
Yet again, Dolan is dealing with a major controversy. This time, he's being criticized for his use of facial-recognition software at Madison Square Garden to prevent certain fans, notably including lawyers who are in litigation against him or the team, from attending events. Yet when Dolan was asked on WFAN Friday if he planned to sell the team, he gave the same answer he's been giving for years: no. "I have no plans whatsoever to sell at this point," Dolan said. "I'm not retiring any time soon. It's a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will own it."
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Dolan has run the Knicks since 1999, but the team is technically owned by the Madison Square Garden Sports Company, which is publicly traded. Dolan is its CEO. The team was originally purchased by Cablevision in 1994, which was run by his father, Charles Dolan. James Dolan has six sons, but no eventual successor as owner of the Knicks and Rangers has been publicly named.
The Knicks have exceeded expectations on the court this season. At 27-23, they are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, and Dolan said during the interview that expects the team to make the playoffs. Still, the Knicks have won only a single playoff series since the 2000-01 season. Until the team enjoys significant and sustainable success, fans are going to ask Dolan to sell the team. Just don't be surprised when he continues saying no.