It is written that when the Messiah comes, the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
And so, in these strange times, Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, Knicks owner and blues legend James Dolan sat down with former mortal enemy Latrell Sprewell to watch the home team take down the powerhouse San Antonio Spurs.
Sprewell and Dolan’s longstanding feud dates back to 2003, the year that the small forward was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. When Sprewell returned to the Garden with the T-Wolves, he went on several expletive-laden tirades against Dolan, who was sitting courtside.
But now it appears the two have buried the hatchet. With Sprewell in attendance for the first time since the 2003 blowup, the Knicks honored him with a tribute video. It did not touch upon that incident, nor the time he choked Golden State coach P.J. Carlesimo during practice and was subsequently suspended for 68 games. (A pretty mild punishment, in retrospect).
The apparent detente/p.r. stunt occurred days after Dolan sent MSG goons to accost beloved former Knick Charles Oakley because he was allegedly being “verbally abusive.” Oakley was sitting a few rows behind Dolan and, according to one observer, was "boisterous" but not directly addressing Dolan. Yet the Knicks somehow decided they needed to send 10 security guards to get the situation under control. There was some pushing and shoving and Oakley was ultimately thrown out. He was arrested and charged with three counts of assault, and the Knicks later announced he was banned from the Garden.
The vastly disproportionate response to something that happens a million times at every single game (and presumably whenever Dolan is seen in public) drew a firestorm of criticism, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Sunday calling the situation "Eric Garner without the chokehold" during a press conference outside the Garden.
"It’s important that we learn from this and ensure that moving forward, nothing like this is televised in a national arena in the city of New York. I was alarmed as a Knicks fan. I was disgusted as a black man," said Adams, who is expected to ask the Knicks to drop charges and the MSG ban on Oakley at a meeting scheduled for today with Dolan.
No matter what happens, the Knicks will still suck.