The Knicks like having celebrities at their games — it’s good for the buzz in the building, the brand. So, like other NBA teams, they paper the house and give tickets to celebrities in prime spots. (Not Jack Nicholson, for the record he pays for those Lakers’ seats).
Actor Ethan Hawke — Dead Poet’s Society, Reality Bites, Training Day, The Purge, and who could forget Predestination… well, a lot of people — was one of those celebrities. He had grown up in the greater New York region and was a big Knicks fan — one who got those gift tickets from the team.
Until he publicly criticized the team. From The Bill Simmons Podcast, here is a transcript of Hawke talking Knicks tickets and how he lost them after criticizing them for keeping Carmelo Anthony. (Hat tip CBS Sports.)
“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…
“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….
“One person who owns (the team doesn’t like him)… 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.”
These were free tickets, so let’s not shed too many tears for Hawke here.
However, if criticizing James Dolan or ‘Melo or the Knicks’ decisions costs you seats, would there be anyone left in New York who could go to games?
Consider it another reminder of the rather overly controlling, image-conscious, dictatorial atmosphere Dolan has created in Madison Square Garden. Hopefully, the new front office combo of Steve Mills and Scott Perry, along with new coach David Fizdale, can navigate away from and shield the basketball side from too much of that and allow it to flourish.