How to Lose Fans and Alienate People

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put MSG back together again

Scene: Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City, NY

Event: James Dolan Executive Seminar for Winners


Thank you, thank you, please, please sit down. Now as you all know, I am James Dolan, Chairman of Madison Square Garden, and I’m here today to teach all of you how to run a successful organization into the ground. Now, I now a lot of you when you upon first heard about this seminar thought, “why would I want to learn how to ruin an organization? That doesn’t seem like a smart or profitable idea.” Well that’s why I’m up here and you’re down there. Ten years ago I realized that there was much more money and much less effort involved in failing at a job than at succeeding at it. Think about it; when a person is good at their job, people just ask them to take on more and more responsibility, and eventually that person is doing way more people’s jobs than they signed up for. The thing is, their pay does not always increase with their productivity; see Darrelle Revis.

I had this revelation a few years ago when I noticed how hard I was working for minimal gain. The Knicks hadn’t done anything of note since Sprewell left, and the entire organization was in a general funk. Then one day I was watching football and I saw the man who inspired me, and was later to become my mentor; Matt Millen. Millen is without doubt the worst sports executive in the history of the United States. What makes him remarkable is how he managed to be so bad for so long in such a high-profile market without being fired. I mean he had arguably one of the most loyal fan bases in the country in Detroit Lions fans, fans who were used to not winning, and he found a way to take them lower than rock bottom. Every time those people thought that things could not get any worse, Millen took them to a darkness that no human could possible recover from. He was my role model, a leader, and, I’m proud to say, a friend.

But how to achieve that level of failure in the NBA? Well it was easier than one would think. It is incredibly difficult to win a championship In the NBA, whereas in the NFL, a few smart choices in one or two seasons can make any team a contender at the very least. The problem I faced was that with Madison Square Garden, the Knicks and the Rangers, I had three products that were very difficult to screw up. I was saddled with die-hard fans, nearly unlimited resources, and all of the media attention one could use. Squandering all of those advantages was going to be tough, which is why I brought in a sidekick, the Pippen to my Jordan, Isaiah Thomas. He was key to enabling the complete downfall of the New York Knicks. His behavior on and off the court was invaluable to my efforts to become a failure. Let’s look at some of the biggest failures in recent memory; Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban, Mike Brown (ex-head of FEMA), Tony Heyward, formerly of BP, Charlie Weis, the list is endless.

  • Kiffin – Has been forced out of every job he ever has, only to immediately be hired to a better position. He has never shown one ounce of competence at any position yet he is still highly regarded and sought after.
  • Saban – Is the most patently untrustworthy man ever born, but is still hired to high-profile coaching jobs over and over again.
  • Brown – Presided over FEMA during the worst natural disaster in human history, was fired, and has rewarded himself with starting HIS OWN DISASTER PLANNING FIRM. I cannot make this up! Come to think of it, Mike Brown, the NBA coach could be in this list as well…
  • Heyward – Who has failed spectacularly in his handling of the Gulf Coast Oil disaster, but will be rewarded with a $17 million severance package for his trouble.
  • Weis – Talked big and failed big at Notre Dame, but was immediately scooped up at a lower profile equally well paying job as Offensive Coordinator of the KC Chiefs.

One day my name will be at the top of that list. One day I will outshine Matt Millen as the biggest sports failure ever. And when that happens, I will be more powerful than any of you can possible imagine. Over the next three days you all will learn how to be a successful failure like me, and how to run even the steadiest organization into the ground. I will be available for Q&A, but if you can’t find me, Isaiah will be around… He’s ALWAYS around somewhere…

Dolan leaves stage to thunderous applause and standing ovation

John Minus is an Altered Negro, which is why all of his points of view are kind of… Off. You can reach him at

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