Spike Lee sits courtside at almost every Knicks game at the Garden and loves to interact with opposing players.
Over the weekend, during the game between the Lakers and Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Kobe Bryant was recorded trash-talking the Knicks’ triangle offense to Spike Lee.
Kobe brushed it off as “just usual trash-talking stuff” with the Knicks’ most famous fan. Over the years Lee has made his presence felt by many of the league’s stars from his courtside seat.
The noted director has been seen mouthing off to opposing players, season after season, and the players often jaw back at him.
Take a look back at some players around the league who have exchanged words with Lee at the world’s most famous arena.
On Nov. 3, 2013, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves paid a visit to the Garden. With under four minutes to go in the game, Love pump-faked and banked in a fall-away, one-legged circus shot to put his team up eight.
On his way back down to the defensive end, Love ran up the sideline and extended his hand out to Lee for a high-five. Lee noticed it at the last second and sort of swatted at Love’s hand. It was hard to tell whether Lee was showing respect or if he was yammering at Love in frustration, but the reader can be the judge.
The big man earned the right to taunt the face of the Knicks’ fan base as he put up 34 points and 15 rebounds in a 109-100 win .
LeBron James is known to have huge games at the Garden. James has scored at least 50 points twice in New York. He scored 50 in 2008 and 52 in 2009.
LeBron James has exploded for some huge games at MSG, scoring at least 50 points there twice.
In 2010, Lee decided to call LeBron out before a game between the Heat and Knicks at the Garden — it didn’t pan out very well. Lee told the Daily News on Dec. 17, 2010, “We’re gonna kick LeBron’s ass.” Quite the opposite happened as LeBron posted a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 113-91 Miami win.
Lee tried to get inside King James’ head again during the 2012 Eastern Conference first-round playoff series between the Knicks and Heat. Lee chirped at LeBron throughout the series, but it didn’t faze him as the Heat took the series in five games.
Jan. 7, 2013 was the day of the infamous “Honey Nut Cheerios” incident between then-Celtic Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony. Of course Lee couldn’t stay out of this one. Shortly after Melo and Garnett got heated and were handed a technical foul each, Paul Pierce was inbounding the ball from the sideline in front of Lee.
Spike stood up and yapped at Pierce the whole time. After the game Pierce said, “I’ve been tuning Spike Lee out for years. That’s just common noise now.”
Pierce showed signs of dealing with Lee’s trash talk in a game at the Garden back in 2009. Pierce hit a ridiculous fade-away jumper right in front of Lee and stared him down on his way back down the court.
The feud between the two continued when Pierce made his move to Brooklyn to join the Nets. When he was traded there in 2013, Pierce said, “I think it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.” Spike was having none of that and responded by saying that Pierce was “talking crazy.”
It seems Lee is not very fond of Celtics other than the former one known as Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen). Now Lee is no stranger to trash talk and normally he might even welcome it, but in a game against the Celtics in 2011, Kevin Garnett said something to Lee that set him off.
“Kevin Garnett lost it,” the famed director said after the game. “He was cursing me out for no reason. Maybe because Stoudemire gave him 39 points, but take that vulgarity to Stoudemire. I did not even say s–t to Garnett the whole game. That really surprised me. He lost it. He was cursing at me the whole game. He needs to calm the f–k down.”
Lee even went as far as to say that what Garnett said was worse than anything his most famous foe, Reggie Miller, said to him.
Kobe’s trash talk with Spike is friendlier than others. In Sunday’s game at the Garden, Kobe was heard trashing the Knicks’ version of the triangle offense to Lee. This wasn’t the first time the two exchanged smack talk.
Kobe Bryant and Spike Lee have mutual respect for each other, but love to exchange trash talk during games.
One Feb. 2, 2009, Kobe Bryant went berserk at MSG, scoring 61 points. There is a video of Kobe joking with Lee after the game, in which he blames his stellar performance on the Knicks’ unofficial courtside mascot.
Spike Lee directed a documentary about Bryant called “Kobe Doin’ Work” in 2009.
Spike Lee ran Michael Jordan’s shoe campaign in the 90’s, but loved to talk smack when Jordan played at the Garden.
Lee was pretty much the face of Michael Jordan’s sneaker campaign in the ‘90s. While the two worked together off the court, it was much different between them on the court. Jordan was a Knicks killer as he scored 50 or more points on four separate occasions against them.
One of the most memorable moments between Jordan and Spike came in Game 5 of the 1996 Eastern Conference semifinals. Jordan dropped 35 points and with just over three minutes to play, MJ hit a three from the top of the key and waved “bye-bye” to Lee as he backpedaled down the court.
Reggie Miller is one of the most notorious trash-talkers in NBA history, and a lot of that trash talk was geared toward Lee. Miller and Lee’s feud might be one of the greatest rivalries in league history and one of the two guys involved never even set foot on the floor.
Reggie Miller mounted one of the greatest playoff comebacks of all time right in front of Spike Lee’s seat.
In Game 4 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Miller led the Pacers back from a 12-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. Miller had 25 points in the final quarter to fuel the comeback, and shared some choice words with Spike after every single field goal he made. At the end of the game, Miller made a choking gesture toward Lee to let him know that his team had crumbled under pressure. The Pacers won 93-86 and would advance past the heavily favored Knicks.
In the following year, Miller started off the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals with one of the most clutch performances of all time. Miller scored eight points in nine seconds to bring the Pacers back from down six with 18 seconds to go. He hit two threes to tie the game and, of course, looked right to Lee on the sideline after hitting the second. He then sank two free throws to seal the deal. The Pacers would advance after winning Game 7 in New York.
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