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James Dolan won’t sell New York Knicks, defends MSG facial recognition tech

Feb 12, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks executive chairman James Dolan (center) watches the game during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a rare media interview Friday, James Dolan said he has no plans to sell the New York Knicks or Rangers and discussed the facial recognition technology being used inside Madison Square Garden.

Speaking on “Carton and Roberts” on the New York radio station WFAN, Dolan made it clear to his detractors that he isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

“I have no plans whatsoever to sell at this point,” Dolan said. “I’m not retiring anytime soon. It’s a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will own it.”

The 67-year-old businessman is the chairman of Madison Square Garden and has held a controlling stake in the NBA’s Knicks and NHL’s Rangers since 1999.

The Knicks have made one postseason appearance in the past nine seasons and have only made the conference semifinals once since reaching the Finals in 1999-2000, Dolan’s first season of ownership. The franchise has had 14 head coaches since 1999 and seven top front office executives, most recently Tom Thibodeau and Leon Rose.

Dolan said he “fully expects” the Knicks will return to the playoffs this spring and believes in Rose. New York enters the weekend 27-23, in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, behind the trio of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and offseason acquisition Jalen Brusnon.

“Why did I bring Leon in? I’ve been doing this for like 20-something years and in my experience with the NBA, there’s things you can do as an owner. You can create an environment where everybody, you give them enough money to do their job, give them more money than they need to do their job. You can stay out of the way, which is usually the best course of action.

“But you do end up picking the one guy who’s going to make all the strategy, who’s going to execute for you. I picked Leon because I believe after you look at the NBA and the game that we play, that the team with the best talent wins. You want a guy who can get you the best talent. I believe that Leon Rose is still the best guy.”

Dolan also defended the facial recognition technology being used inside the Garden that some have said is being used to identify and ban people from games or concerts at the historic venue.

Dolan first told “Carton and Roberts” that the only people being banned were lawyers who were filing suit against his company, but pressed on whether any fans had been barred from the venue, he changed his tune.

“This is a long answer,” Dolan said. “I think the answer is basically no, except if you become confrontational.

“Confrontational with other fans, confrontational with the staff, confrontational with the ownership. You really have to be confrontational — not just say, ‘I don’t like you.’ Generally, it involves some form of profanity.”

–Field Level Media