His public tantrum was unseemly, ungracious, and embarrassing — but it may pay off.
New York Knicks fans will never forget the 1994 playoffs, when Spike Lee, an ostensibly grown 37-year-old man who had leveraged his celebrity into scoring a courtside seat at Madison Square Garden, decided to make himself the center of attention late in the game. Lee, only a few feet from the action, got up and moved around and shouted at players and generally made a complete ass of himself. Lee had inexplicably made it his personal mission to taunt and distract the rival Indiana Pacers’ star shooting guard Reggie Miller. Then things got even worse: Miller responded by turning up the heat on his game from “smoking” to “molten.” Miller scored 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers came from behind to win the game. The Daily News ran a photo of Lee with the caption, “Thanks a Lot, Spike.” When the series moved to Indianapolis, Lee made his typical horrible move of mixing evil with entertainment, telling reporters (falsely) that Indiana was the birthplace of the KKK and that he would be staying at “the governor’s mansion,” in “the slaves’ quarters.”