New York Knicks Record Lowest Attendance Since 2006 After Spike Lee Incident

New York Knicks fans appear to be voting with their feet and follow the example set by Spike Lee, who earlier this week announced he would not attend another home game this season.

Only 16,588 fans attended the Knicks' 112-104 home loss against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. The figure is some 3,200 under capacity at Madison Square Garden and marks the lowest attendance to a Knicks home game since December 2006, when 15,895 fans watched a win over the Atlanta Hawks.

According to ESPN figures, the Knicks have the 10th-highest average attendance in the NBA, with an average of 18,804 fans going through the Madison Square Garden's turnstiles for the 31 home games the team has played so far this season.

The Knicks sell out the arena on 94.9 percent of games, a remarkable result for a team that last made the playoffs seven years ago and has finished with a losing record ever since.

Coming just days after Lee vowed not to return to the Madison Square Garden this season, the lowest attendance in over 13 years is another worrying sign for the franchise.

On Monday night, the Knicks recorded a surprise win against the Houston Rockets, but the incident involving Lee overshadowed events on the court.

The Academy Award winner was told he could not use the employee entrance into the arena, which he claims to have walked through each time he's attended a game of his beloved Knicks in the last 28 years.

The 62-year-old said his ticket was scanned as normal, before he was told he had to leave the arena and enter via a different entrance—which would have proved extremely difficult to do, as tickets can only be scanned once.

A video showing an altercation between Lee and Madison Square Garden security personnel went viral on Twitter and the Hollywood star gave his version of events on ESPN's First Take on Tuesday.

"I'm being harassed by James Dolan, and I don't know why," he said, referencing the Knicks owner.

"Not this year ... I'm done."

You won't see Spike Lee at another Knicks game this season, according to him.

— First Take (@FirstTake) March 3, 2020

The franchise swiftly dismissed Lee's claims, insisting he was well aware he could not use the employee entrance but had to enter the arena via a dedicated VIP entrance instead.

"It's disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama," the team said in a statement released on Twitter.

"He is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; just not through our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim agreed to last night when they shook hands."

Admittedly, the low turnout against the Jazz could be attributed to a variety of reasons. Fans may have opted to stay away from the Garden because of increasing fears related to the coronavirus outbreak and the fact the Jazz have the third-lowest road attendance did not help matters either.

There is also the fact watching the Knicks is hardly an appealing prospect these days, with the team marooned near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 19-43 record that makes them the fourth-worst team in the entire NBA.

New York will end with a losing record for the eighth consecutive season, extending what is already a franchise record of years without playoffs.

The Knicks' dismal form, however, makes the public spat between the franchise and Lee even harder to understand. The Academy Award winner is by far the team's most high-profile fan and has been an ambassador of sorts for the franchise even during its numerous and frequent lows.

Spike Lee, New York Knicks
John McEnroe and Spike Lee attend Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2019 in New York City. James Devaney/Getty