Friday, July 6, 2012

James Dolan: Knicks Owner, Bandleader

"Are you there, [free agent]? It's me, Jim" (

Fans and media alike have lambasted James Dolan during his tenure as owner of the New York Knicks. And, for the most part, Dolan has deserved it. He has made less-than-ideal employment choices concerning the team’s front office and money.

They may not support his business decisions on behalf of Madison Square Garden’s darlings, but if Dolan were to embark on some other venture in which he played a central role, would Knicks fans support him?

The answer: a resounding no.

For those unaware, Dolan is the singing, guitar-playing frontman of the bluesy, occasionally alt-country band JD and the Straight Shot. The group’s biggest accomplishment to date is soundtracking the opening sequence to AMC’s original show Hell On Wheels. As noted by a New York Magazine articlefrom last fall, Dolan’s family controls Cablevision, which owned AMC until recently.

Even with their music scoring the credits to a cable television program and having three full albums and an EP to their name, the item that shines brightest (depending on your opinion of Dolan) in JD and the Straight Shot’s catalogue is a gem titled “Fix the Knicks.”

That’s right. The Knicks’ owner penned a pre-emptive ode to himself about his determination to correct all the things wrong – shooting bricks, a missing defensive prowess, etc. – with New York preeminent basketball team.

One YouTube video of the band performing “Fix the Knicks” is closing in on 22,000 views. Of 111 ratings, 103 are negative – though one commenter did note that their Thumb’s Up was accidental, and that’s one of the nicer remarks.

The highlight of the song is a shout out to Dolan’s relationship with, and employment of, Isiah Thomas. Each person can pinpoint their own least favorite aspect.

JD and the Straight Shot have shared stages with The Eagles, The Allman Brothers and The Dixie Chicks. Anyone who wants to draw a comparison between Dolan’s band touring with musicians past their prime and the Knicks’ affinity for acquiring players on the downside of their careers – mostly recently Jason Kidd – would have reasonable deduction skills. Anyone wanting to criticize Dolan for spending too little time on bringing the Knicks back to prominence, well, you’ve probably been beaten to the punch.

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