It wasn't too long ago that you would see "Sell the team" signs at New York Knicks games inside Madison Square Garden, showing the displeasure Knicks fans held toward team owner James Dolan. And despite the small amount of success the team has had in the last few years -- two playoff appearances in the last three seasons including advancing to the second round last season -- I'm sure many Knicks fans would still be elated if Dolan sold the franchise.
Dolan has repeatedly said on multiple occasions NHL's New York Rangers. In a New York Times feature that focused primarily on Dolan's latest business venture, the soon to be opened Sphere in Las Vegas, he shared why he wouldn't buy another sports team., most recently back in January saying, "I have no plans whatsoever to sell at this point. I'm not retiring any time soon. It's a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will own it." Dolan may not be looking to sell, but he certainly doesn't sound like he enjoys owning the Knicks and the
From the New York Times:
...(Dolan) considered expanding his sports portfolio, perhaps by buying a baseball or soccer team. But while the Knicks and Rangers are "near and dear to my heart," he said, "I don't really like owning teams," calling the economics of major league sports "kind of sleepy." He ruled out that option.
Calling the position of team owner "kind of sleepy" isn't what you want to hear from the guy who gets most of the final say on the Knicks' decisions. But it's also not the least bit surprising when you consider the lack of success the Knicks have had since 1999, which is when Dolan was put in place to run the franchise.
In the 24 years that Dolan has been CEO of Madison Square Garden Sports Company, the parent company that owns the Knicks, the Knicks have made the playoffs just eight times, advancing past the first round only three times. They've gone on two separate playoff droughts that lasted six and seven years each.
The Knicks have been mired in a sexual harassment lawsuit, and Dolan has famously gotten into a public beef with beloved Knicks legend Charles Oakley, who is now banned from attending Knicks games. He's also used facial recognition to ban certain fans that have been antagonistic toward him. Despite the Knicks being one of, if not the most, iconic NBA franchise in the league's history, Dolan runs the team like it's an inconvenience or burden.
Dolan says he doesn't particularly enjoy running a sports team, but no one is stopping him from selling, or at the very least conceding control to someone else. He's taken a step back after hiring Leon Rose to be president of the Knicks, and in Rose's short stint thus far the Knicks have made the playoffs twice in the last three years. But if the day-to-day of owning a sports team doesn't interest Dolan, there's surely plenty of people willing to step into that role. He's said in the past that the ownership of the Knicks will stay in the Dolan family, so perhaps it's time to hand if off to someone else.