"I really want folks to listen to my music just for the music..."
January 25, 2012 6:24 PM   Subscribe

in which the owner of The New York Knicks, James Dolan, happens to front a blues band - JD & The Straight Shot
posted by beisny (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bill Simmons has his faults as a sportswriter, but pre-Grantland he nailed Dolan dead on:

Why is Dolan like that? Attend prep school or private school for a few years (I did five) and you'll meet a few legacy kids along the way. They can go one of three ways:

A. Driven to follow Dad's footsteps and become just as successful (if not more).
B. Want no part of Dad's footsteps, would rather create their own.
C. Knew their parents would always provide for them, and become screw-ups.

You could sniff out Group A as early as the ninth grade; we knew which ones had their heads on straight and were headed somewhere. Group C was my favorite: lazy and entitled, headed nowhere, but always throwing great parties because their parents were never home. I never blamed the Group C kids for being like that; their parents were usually too busy to care, so they enabled their kids, looked the other way and made excuses for them. But the Group B kids … they were the fascinating ones. They talked a big game, stuff like, "I'm gonna be a teacher," or "What really matters to me is my music." Sometimes they paved their own way and made it; sometimes they didn't. If they failed, either they stayed failures (belatedly moving into Group C), or sucked it up, swallowed their pride and joined forces with Dad.

James Dolan juggled Group B and Group C. Instead of going to college, he pursued a music career (Group B). When it didn't work out, he left two colleges before belatedly getting his communications degree from SUNY New Paltz (Group C). From there, he begrudgingly went to work for his father (Group B) and battled significant drug and alcohol problems (Group C), and then, to his credit, overcame those problems in his 30s. He sailed competitively (classic Group B) before quitting the sport in a rage (ditto), formed his own jazz band and named it "JD and the Straight Shot" (double ditto), then used (and continued to use) his vast resources to give himself every competitive advantage (triple ditto). New York magazine reported that Dolan even "bought a house adjacent to his own in Oyster Bay, converting it to a studio and arranging for band members to fly in on the Cablevision helicopter for practice."

Everything will make sense when you watch JD and the Straight Shot perform. It's the entire Dolan package on display: the entitled legacy kid who formed a band, overpaid the other members since it's the only way they would EVER play with him, thinks he's good and isn't self-aware enough to know otherwise (as this damning interview/song shows). Knicks fans wonder why their franchise careened into NBA hell, why LeBron ran in the other direction, or why anyone could ever think it would be a good idea to rehire Isiah again? Watch that video while ignoring the unintentional irony of the chorus being, "If you can't lie no better than that, you might as well tell the truth." That guy owns the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. He does.

posted by mightygodking at 6:28 PM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Obligatory Onion link
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:29 PM on January 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

Solid pro band there. Ace professionals. Smooth. Solid. Got that "session players, every one of 'em" sound.

He needs to work on his singing, though, big time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:32 PM on January 25, 2012

Huh. As an OOL subscriber (the Dolans own that too still, right?), weird.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:51 PM on January 25, 2012

"Adding comments has been disabled for this video."
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:54 PM on January 25, 2012

Do they do "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:07 PM on January 25, 2012

He is an interesting case though-

Most big-money big-market sports owners fail, whey they fail, because their ego keeps them from trusting anyone they hire, or they squabble with and fire good people (see Steinbrenner, Jerry Jones, Jerry Reinsdorf.)

Dolan just makes awful awful choices for key hires, like the scandal-mired and idiotic Isiah Thomas, and Mike D'Antoni, who has coached this year's team to emulate the Washington Generals as closely as possible on defense.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:11 PM on January 25, 2012

their ego keeps them from trusting anyone they hire, or they squabble with and fire good people

Well he did chase the great Donnie Walsh out of town and went against Walsh's judgement by forcing through the Carmelo Anthony trade.
posted by beisny at 7:19 PM on January 25, 2012

Dolan just makes awful awful choices for key hires

But he hired a good band. You know, objectively, they're really "good".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:19 PM on January 25, 2012

And in the heart of every Knicks fan, the plea "please, please quit your day job" sings eternal.

ah, hahahahaha, oooh, hahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA
Sorry, can't help it. Did you know there's a blog about the Bulls that goes by the name of Thank you, Isaiah? So named because without the horrifically lopsided trades (that's trades, plural) the Bulls made with the Knicks with Thomas at the helm, the Bulls wouldn't be where they are today. Indeed, thank you.

posted by Ghidorah at 3:26 AM on January 26, 2012

I am relatively confident that were Jimmy Dolan literally on fire at center court/center ice during a break in a game no one would try to put him out.

His gross incompetence is actually understated by the abysmal performances of the franchises. Were he not in charge of two of the most profitable teams in their respective leagues I suspect the commissioners would have seized the teams for the good of the leave - a la the Cavs way back in the day.
posted by JPD at 5:07 AM on January 26, 2012

DOLAAAANNNN!!!! The worst thing is that no matter what he does, he can never screw up bad enough to get fired.
posted by pez_LPhiE at 8:18 AM on January 26, 2012

Oh man oh man oh man. Thank you for this. I didn't know anything about the ownership of the Knicks, but if there is one thing I am familiar with, it is old white guys and their blues guitar. As a white person from the birthplace of the blues, it's sometimes excruciating to see the adoration professed by many grown grandsons and great-grandsons of blues-causers, when I know that these same men will show nothing but derision for the music, culture, and troubles of the living African-Americans of the Delta.

I have no love for telling people what cultural productions they "should" identify with, but to see Dolan invoke these images and tropes -- dice, gambling, alcoholism, nonstandard Southern and/or AAVE grammar, even the suit coat and black fedora -- it's nauseating. He's draping himself in these things, just as simply and easily as someone else in his position might choose to drape themselves in cashmere and silk.

Tangentially related: No One Tell These Rich Kids They’re Wasting $100,000 Trying to Be Indie Rock Stars.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:37 PM on January 26, 2012

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