James Dolan on Phil Jackson: ‘You Got to Believe, Baby! I Believe, I Believe!’

by April 10, 2015

New York Knicks owner James Dolan is the subject of a lengthy Q&A in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, and he comes off as exactly the kind of fascinating lunatic you’ve always known him to be.

The ultra-powerful sports and entertainment mogul considers himself “a musician” above all else—Dolan pulled out his guitar during the last round of contentious NBA labor negotiations, and belted out a tune called “Lockout Blues.”

Dolan addresses his boorish behavior towards a justifiably angry Knicks fan (he regrets nothing), and says he has all the faith in the world in first-year team president Phil Jackson turning things around.

You just gotta keep believing, Knicks fans!

You’re paying Phil Jackson $12 million a year for five years. Still worth it? […] “You got to believe, baby! I believe, I believe!”


Jackson has said he was assured by you that there wouldn’t be any interference. But at what point does the leash get tugged? […] “I don’t see it happening. Phil is a brilliant basketball guy, and he and Steve [Mills] are working together great.” […] “I enjoy being out of the limelight. I enjoy having two experts in there that I trust. I barely have to do a thing. It can stay like that for me forever. As long as we continue to make progress — and I’m sure we will. I believe!”


Yes, you emailed a fan and told him off and suggested he might be an alcoholic. Do you regret what you wrote? […] “I don’t believe what I said was wrong. I believe responding to him was wrong. I believe what I said was absolutely correct. But that’s the thing — why engage with people like that? That was a mistake.”


Even when fans wore paper bags to the stadium, that doesn’t get to you? […] “No. The Knicks fans, by the way, have been great this year. The majority of them understand we’re in a rebuild, we’re moving as fast as we can and they see our opportunities as being huge. I think they are, but it’s all in Phil’s hands.”