Of Phil Jackson’s sudden ascendency to President of the New York Knicks, former (annual?) CSTB contributor David Roth writes, “If Jackson’s presence can remind the owner of what his role ought to be — signing checks, terrorizing underlings, buying bluesman hats online while terrorizing underlings — then Dolan’s impact on the team could be blessedly mitigated.” That’s what passes for guarded optimism these days, though Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski cannot help but harp on the lamest vanity project this side of Dogstar while warning, “just stay out of Zen’s way, just get lost now.”
When New York Knicks executives chased free agents in the summer of 2010, owner James Dolan made himself a part of the presentations. He isn’t the most engaging, enchanting man, but Dolan does fancy himself a musician. So, yes, there were player and agent meetings four years ago when Dolan delivered a parting gift on the way out of the room.
“He passed out copies of his CD,” said a source, who stuffed his copy of one into a bag and no longer remembers where it’s gone.
It featured the melodies of JD and the Straight Shot, Dolan’s corner-bar band that bought itself into the opening act on tour with the Eagles. Dolan’s world revolves around the Eagles, and no one has helped meld his fantasy camp/groupie life of bad teams and super groups more gloriously than notorious ball-busting Eagles business manager Irving Azoff.Tuesday, here was Azoff, sitting with Glenn Frey at Madison Square Garden, taking bows, in the words of Dolan, for “brokering” and “negotiating” Jackson’s $60 million contract with the Knicks.
Someday, Dolan declared, the Knicks would be winning by 30 points and Jackson would let him go into the game. All those scared Garden employees laughed and laughed in the back of the room, and even Jackson cracked a polite smile. Real funny and all, but James Dolan has to understand that he’s out of the game for good, that this is Phil Jackson’s franchise now, his principles and values and vision in the grandest Garden experiment of all.