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James Dolan sings about the 'living hell' of owning the Knicks

New York Knicks owner and MSG executive chairman James Dolan belts it out to the back row. (AP)

When he’s not presiding over the most valuable (though certainly not most successful) franchise in the NBA, New York Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden Company executive chairman James L. Dolan likes to play music.

Bluesy, rootsy, countrified rock stuff, performed under the banner of JD & The Straight Shot. It started as a fun downtime side project for the obscenely wealthy Cablevision scion, and has since grown into something Dolan takes more seriously than just about anything, with six studio albums in 12 years and a litany of spots opening for arena-filling acts like The Eagles, The Allman Brothers Band, The Dixie Chicks, Jewel and Keith Urban.

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Dave McKenna of Deadspin wrote a very good piece last year on Dolan’s musical aspirations and accomplishments. He spoke at length with Dolan and many of his associates, detailing how his bankroll and industry connections have allowed The Straight Shot to graduate from a lark intended to entertain MSG employees during a company conference into the kind of project that ropes in Lady Gaga’s vocal coach, a Grammy-winning producer, and a who’s who of hired guns from Nashville to round out a touring band.

It’s not a “mean” story, per se. It’s just that it lays out, plainly and painstakingly, how being the privileged son of a telecommunications magnate who owns Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theater, Radio City Music Hall and the Los Angeles Forum, as well as a billionaire who can fly a full band around the country on private jets with first-class accommodations every step of the way, opens quite a few doors that would remain firmly shut for many other performers of similar passion but significantly more meager means.

Well, in the aftermath of that, and a couple of other perhaps-less-than-flattering stories about Dolan — which, in fairness, tend to be the only sorts of stories Dolan invites when it comes to sports coverage — McKenna and Deadspin invited Dolan to fire back in return by recording a song roasting the website as part of its annual awards show. Despite noting that Deadspin hasn’t actually been all that nasty to him (he didn’t even make the list of nominees for Worst Owner this year!) he decided to oblige, recording a song written to the tune of the title track of JD & The Straight Shot’s most recent release, “Good Luck and Good Night.” (“Actually, that song is about Edward R. Murrow and the decay of journalism since the days of Edward R. Murrow, so maybe it’s appropriate for this track,” Dolan said in introducing the song.)

Well, here goes nothing:


Some selected lyrics from that “opening titles of ‘True Detective'”-sounding jam, dear friends:

You know I own a basketball team
For most people that would be a dream
For a trust fund kid, it’s a living hell
Always some a*****e telling me to sell
Orange and blue
Run this zoo

You call me up and ask for a quote
Then write a story calling me a dope
Ask me why we don’t win more games
Is there any chance we get LeBron James?

You must be sniffing glue
Sniffing glue
Sniffing glue

Social media responses to Dolan’s song ranged from “Oh Christ” to “Jesus Christ” to “Good God” to “Good Lord” to “This cannot be real” to “I still don’t totally believe this happened.” And some other people didn’t even like it.

(My favorite response came from Gerard Cosloy of Can’t Stop the Bleeding: “I still like him more than The Hold Steady.”)

We’re happy Dolan found a creative outlet for his “living hell,” and even happier that he didn’t call anyone an alcoholic in the process. (We will be happier still once we find out whether Dolan name-checking a player presently under contract to the Cleveland Cavaliers constitutes a violation of the NBA’s rules against tampering, or whether LeBron’s covered under the little-known Monarch Of The City Corollary.) In closing: Good luck, good night and good grief.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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