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James L. Dolan: Wikis


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James Loraine Dolan (born 1956) serves as Chairman of Cablevision Systems Corporation and Chairman of Madison Square Garden, Inc.


Personal life


Dolan is married and resides on Long Island with his wife Kristin. He is the son of Cablevision founder Charles Dolan and nephew of Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan. Dolan's two brothers, Patrick and Thomas, serve on Cablevision's Board of Directors.

Early life

After originally pursuing a career in music, Dolan eventually switched to a major in communications at SUNY New Paltz and began working for Cablevision in various capacities including sales before eventually being dispatched to Cleveland by his father to manage the launching of a sports radio station. In 1995 he was made CEO of Cablevision.

Drug/alcohol abuse

Throughout his early adult life Dolan battled drug and alcohol problems and was reportedly known for having a volatile temper. In 1993 he was sent to drug rehabilitation at the Hazelden clinic in Center City, Minnesota.[1]


Dolan performs blues-inspired rock as the singer for JD and the Straight Shot and is also an avid sailor.


Dolan is a noted philanthropist and has been involved in many charitable causes. In 1998 he founded The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and remains active in the organization as a member of its board of directors. Most notably he was a key organizer for the 2001 Concert for New York City benefit concert after September 11th. He has also made considerable donations to Dikembe Mutombo's charity projects which include a hospital in Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo. Even though Mutombo is no longer with the Knicks, Dolan remains a key contributor to his projects. In 2005 Dolan contributed in organizing the “From The Big Apple to The Big Easy" benefit concerts for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Business management

Dolan was an ardent opponent of his father's proposed Voom satellite service, which became a bipolar controversy among Cablevision's Board of Directors. While supporters argued Voom could propel Cablevision into the future emerging satellite market and a wider customer base, opponents of the plan, including James Dolan, argued it was too expensive with no expense relief for the foreseeable future. In the end, the younger Dolan prevailed and Voom was shut down. This was an instrumental event in Dolan emerging from his father's shadow, albeit reluctantly, as a viable businessman.[2]

However, his business career has not been without failure, which include purchasing the failing Wiz electronics and entertainment chain which ended up posting losses of $250 million before being liquidated and the Clearview Cinemas chain which has failed to generate any significant revenue.[3]

Sports management

In 1999 Dolan was given an increased role in managing Cablevision's sports properties and is now the primary manager of these assets. The teams under his domain include most notably the National Basketball Association's New York Knicks, the National Hockey League's New York Rangers, the Women's National Basketball Association's New York Liberty, and the American Hockey League's Hartford Wolfpack.

As Chairman of Madison Square Garden he supervises day to day operations, its professional sports teams and regional sports networks which include MSG Network and MSG Plus. He also serves as a governor of the Knicks and Rangers to their respective leagues.


NY Rangers

The Rangers saw a decline in performance in the wake of Dolan's increased role in managing the team and failed to make the playoffs from the 1997-1998 season until the 2004–05 NHL lockout, despite leading the league in payroll in most of those years. This was the longest playoff drought in franchise history. Despite fan and media calls for the team's general manager Glen Sather to be fired for the organization's shortcomings, Sather was retained, and even though the Rangers have made the playoffs every since the lockout ended, they still have yet to become a legit championship contender since their downfall.

NY Knicks

Like the Rangers, the Knicks performed abysmally in the early 2000s, and have yet to recover, mostly thanks to Dolan. Since the 2000-2001 NBA season, the franchise has currently not posted a winning season, nor have they won a playoff game since, and have not made the playoffs since 2004. Dolan has come under fire from many Knicks' fans for the Knicks' run of consecutive losing seasons. Numerous media and informal fan polls, including a recent Sports Illustrated poll have ranked Dolan the worst owner in the NBA. In 2007, NBA Commissioner David Stern criticized Dolan's management of the Knicks, saying "they're not a model of intelligent management."[4][5] One widely criticized decision was to give shooting guard Allan Houston a 6-year, $100 million maximum contract in 2001, when no other team had offered Houston more than $75 million. Houston retired due to injury after just four seasons and over $40 million remaining on his contract.

In 2003, Dolan hired Isiah Thomas as Team President of Basketball Operations and General Manager to replace embattled executive Scott Layden. Thomas made aggressive moves to re-tool and upgrade the Knicks roster through trades, the NBA Draft, and free agency. Despite the talent Thomas imported, the team underperformed and Thomas was mired in turmoil; Dolan subsequently received the ire of the New York media and Knicks' fans for his commitment to Thomas, who kept on making questionable moves, which never got the Knicks anywhere.

After the 2004-2005 season, the Knicks signed head coach Larry Brown to a 5 year, $50 million contract. After just one (losing) season, Brown was fired and the team bought-out Brown's contract for $18 million. Brown walked away with a total of $28 million for coaching the Knicks for just one year.

After firing Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas assumed duties as head coach of the Knicks. During a staged interview on MSG Network, which has marked the last time Dolan answered questions from any media, Dolan gave Thomas an ultimatum to show "evident progress" or potentially be fired. In the latter half of the 2006-2007 season, with the Knicks within reach of a playoff spot Dolan signed Thomas to a multi-year contract extension. The team subsequently fell out of contention and Dolan has received further criticism for this move. A mere season later, Dolan stripped Thomas of his front office duties, having taken the Knicks to the playoffs just once during his tenure. New team President Donnie Walsh removed Thomas as head coach upon the conclusion of the season.

Other coaches that also had short Knicks tenures include Don Chaney (2001-2003) and Lenny Wilkens (2003-2005). Like Thomas and Brown, they also remained on the Knicks' payroll following their departure from the bench due to their receiving multi-year contracts (and in Chaney's case 2 separate contract extensions).

In 2007, Dolan was named as a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought forth by a former Knicks executive, Anucha Browne-Sanders. Browne-Sanders accused Dolan of firing her out of spite after she complained about sexual harassment from Isiah Thomas. The court ruled in favor of Brown-Sanders and Dolan had to pay $3 million of the $11 million settlement with MSG being responsible for the remainder of the settlement.[6]

Media policies

Dolan rarely speaks with members of the media and communicates to the press through released statements or in interviews with MSG Network. In 2000, Dolan instituted media training for all Garden employees who might deal with the press and an ironclad rule against team personnel criticizing others in the organization.[7] Under Dolan's watch MSG implemented controversial media policies limiting access to players, such as prohibiting reporters and Knicks' beat writers from interviewing players without an MSG public relations official present, forbidding one-on-one interviews, and excommunicating writers who write critical articles of the organization, and doesn't allow the MSG Network to be critical of the Knicks, and Rangers, despite their recent poor performances. Such measures were not standard practice for other NBA teams.[8] The Knicks also did not make their medical staff available to the press.[9] In 2004, fan favorite broadcaster Marv Albert was allegedly fired (technically, MSG Network did not renew his contract) for criticizing the Knicks poor play.[10][11]


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