STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford’s Mike Basone is no fair weather Knicks fan. He captured fans’ frustration with owner James Dolan in a recently released 10-minute documentary called “Knicks Fan For Life.”
“I don’t have any issues with [new president] Phil Jackson, and I don’t think fans do,’’ said Basone, a New Canaan High School graduate. “I think fans are excited he’s running the organization. The issues stem with Dolan. The fans want him to stay out of Jackson’s way.”
Basone, 28, has been a Knicks fan since he was a kid and attends games frequently. “I was there for the Reggie Miller game, a lot of big games,’’ he said. “I remember being at my cousin’s dance recital when Larry Johnson made his four-point play. I was listening on my Walkman. It was always a blast. The 90s were a fun period.”
But the team has foundered for the past 15 years. It has won just one playoff series since 2000, and made the playoffs just five times in the past 14 years. This year’s team went 37-45 and missed the playoffs.
Basone studied at the Los Angeles Film School and works at Televerse Studio in Stamford. He shot the video while attending a fan protest in March, shortly after Jackson was hired to take over the team’s daily operations. Illustrator Evan Deery and narrator Xavier Paul assisted.
Jackson, a former player with the Knicks, won 11 NBA titles while coaching Chicago and Los Angeles. Basone believes Jackson can restore professional basketball glory in New York, but only if Dolan stops meddling. There are already reports of conflict between Dolan and Jackson.
“This team has been very dysfunctional,’’ Basone said. “In the 1990s, they were a symbol for the city. They represented what the city stood for. If we can get back to becoming a hard-working team, I think that will go a long way. I think Phil Jackson is the guy to do that.”
Basone believes Dolan should take note of the Rangers’ success. The team has reached the Stanley Cup finals, and he has refrained from meddling in team affairs. He believes if he does the same with the Knicks, Jackson can succeed.
"It’s going to take a little bit of time,’’ he said. “I’m not worried about the coaching situation. They have to get the situation resolved with Carmelo Anthony. But I think Jackson will be able to change the culture. Little by little, he’ll be able to do it.”
Basone’s film has been picked up by Bleacher Report and the top fan website for the Knicks. He hopes the video will raise awareness for fans frustrated by the team’s ineptitude.
“It’s their voice as fans,’’ Basone said. “We don’t get to hear from fans often, even though we’re the ones who pay for the seats. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to make this film. As a frustrated fan, I wanted to use my voice as a filmmaker to have the fans’ voice remembered. They believe in Phil Jackson and that he will bring positive change, they just want to make sure the owner doesn't interfere.”