James Dolan has coronavirus, Knicks say he has ‘little to no symptoms’

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK—New York Knicks owner James Dolan has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 64-year-old billionaire is exhibiting “little to no symptoms,” according to the team, and remains in isolation while overseeing MSG’s business operations. Dolan lives in Oyster Bay on Long Island but it’s unclear where he’s self-quarantining.

The diagnosis was disclosed on the same day Dolan pledged to pay the salaries of event staff in all of MSG’s venues through at least May 3, despite the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down his arenas indefinitely.

Dolan represents the first known NBA owner to contract the coronavirus after several players — most notably Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant — tested positive. Ironically, the Knicks reportedly decided against testing their players because they, like Dolan, exhibited no symptoms. Many of the Knicks have left the New York area during coronavirus shutdown.

Access to tests for asymptomatic and healthy people has been controversial, as most of the NBA players who’ve tested positive said they don’t have symptoms. Health officials are generally recommending that tests be saved for the sick.

New York City is the world epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 30,000 cases out of America’s more than 124,000 and the world’s nearly 700,000. The virus has killed at least 672 people in the city, including 222 on Saturday alone.

Dolan is a recovered alcoholic who inherited MSG from his father and took over the Knicks in 1999. He has been wildly unpopular and unsuccessful as a basketball owner, but his other team — the Rangers — has experienced more positives recently. Dolan has poured much of his attention recently into live event venues, and currently owns Madison Square Garden, the Hulu Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and Radio City Music Hall. He has arenas opening soon in Las Vegas and London. He also just sold The Forum in Inglewood to Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer for $400 million.

Despite his vast business success, Dolan’s Knicks have long been a mess. The franchise owns the NBA’s worst record in the last 20 years and is riding a six-year streak without the playoffs.

This season — which is postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak — was another disaster and Dolan often took center stage. After a blowout November defeat at home, he persuaded team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry to hold an impromptu news conference that sent coach David Fizdale to the hot seat. Fizdale was fired in December, then Dolan dismissed Mills in February.

Dolan also reportedly ordered the ejection of a young fan when the Garden crowd chanted, “Sell the team.” Just this month, the owner was accused by Spike Lee of harassment after the Knicks superfan got into an argument with Garden security.

According to court documents, Dolan is scheduled to participate in a conference call Tuesday with Charles Oakley to mediate their civil lawsuit.


©2020 New York Daily News

Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.