James Dolan Still Has a Massive Net Worth Despite Constantly Bringing Controversy to the New York Knicks
While NBA players and coaches usually receive most of the attention, team owners can still find themselves in the spotlight. That can be due to positive reasons, like bankrolling a big-time move or celebrating a championship, but anyone who’s ever read their local sports section or listened to sports talk radio can confirm that the attention is usually negative. That’s especially true for James Dolan, who calls the shots within the New York Knicks organization.
With all of that being said, though, financial and on-court success aren’t always connected. And, despite the Knickerbockers’ struggles, the big boss still has plenty of cash. Just how much?
Well, let’s consider James Dolan’s net worth.
The New York Knicks have struggled under James Dolan
James Dolan became the owner of the New York Knicks in 1999. The club was enjoying a run of success at the time, reaching the 1999 NBA Finals and the Eastern Conference Finals a year later. Those postseason runs, however, proved to be the last gasp of a dying era.
The 2000-01 season saw the Knicks make the postseason, although they fell in the first round. After that, the franchise limped through an embarrassing stretch. New York qualified for postseason play only once in the next nine years; even when that skid ended, fortunes didn’t exactly turn around. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire managed to bring some brief success to the Garden, but their three-year playoff run was followed by another seven regular seasons of failure.
In complete fairness to the franchise, though, the ship has been somewhat righted. The Knicks have managed to hold onto some first-round draft picks, rather than trading them away years in advance, and have built a solid roster rather than chasing (and failing to land) elite free agents. Tom Thibodeau isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he has provided the franchise with some structure and led his team into the postseason twice in three years.
By recent Knicks standards, that’s certainly trending in the right direction. It remains to be seen, however, if this is another false dawn or a genuine upswing.
There’s been plenty of controversy at MSG over the years
Presiding over a down era of New York Knicks basketball hasn’t been the only source of James Dolan’s negative press, though. Over the years, he’s found his name in the headlines for several unrelated reasons.
In 2015, for example, Dolan received an email from a lifelong Knicks fan who criticized his reign at Madison Square Garden. Rather than ignoring the message or issuing a PR-friendly reply, the owner fired back. As documented in an ESPN write-up, he called the fan “a sad person,” suggested that he “most likely have made your family miserable,” and told him to “start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks don’t want you.”
Needless to say, that wasn’t a masterstroke in public relations.
In 2013, he barred director Woody Allen from Madison Square Garden’s VIP lounge after Allen refused to do any promotion for MSG Network or the Garden of Dreams Foundation, according to the New York Post. He also has had a public feud with Charles Oakley, and, in 2021, Spike Lee said he was being “harassed” by Dolan (h/t ESPN).
In 2022 and 2023, the owner also found himself wrapped up in a bizarre saga involving alcohol sold at Madison Square Garden. Without getting into the legal intricacies, the arena was notified by the New York State Liquor Authority that there had been a complaint regarding the use facial-recognition technology to prevent lawyers involved in litigation against his companies from entering the premises. As documented by the New York Times, Dolan then threatened to stop selling beer at Rangers games and “trolled an obscure government official — Sharif Kabir, chief executive of the New York State Liquor Authority, which is investigating the Garden — by holding aloft a flier bearing Mr. Kabir’s photo and contact information so thirsty fans might ‘tell him to stick to his knitting.'”
As laid out in another Times piece, the owner also hired a private investigator to follow “Charles Stravalle, a New York State Liquor Authority investigator and retired police captain.”
What is Dolan’s net worth?
Based on all those missteps, you might think that James Dolan would have taken a financial hit. Owning two big-four franchises and sitting atop the Madison Square Garden Sports/Madison Square Garden Entertainment/MSG Network pyramid, however, makes for a rather unshakable cash flow.
Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Dolan is worth $2 billion. Beyond that, the Knicks are always worth a pretty penny, even with their lack of on-court success. Forbes‘ 2022 franchise valuations pegged the franchise at an estimated $6.1 billion, only trailing the Golden State Warriors.
Would Knicks fans love to see someone else take control of their team? Of course, but with that much money in the bank, Dolan is under no pressure to sell. Best not to hold your breath.