Nets owner Joe Tsai to host Linsanity documentary, alleges it’s because ‘MSG refused to show this film’

·1 min read

NEW YORK — After catching heat online for hosting a film celebrating the crosstown rival’s thrilling moments, Nets owner Joe Tsai alleged Madison Square Garden “refused to show” a documentary about Jeremy Lin.

“MSG refused to show this film. So I’m showing it because the story needs to be told,” Tsai tweeted. “It’s a story about breaking stereotypes. It’s a New York City story.”

Barclays Center, home of the Nets, is screening “38 at the Garden” on Saturday, a documentary about Lin’s rise from an overlooked prospect to a Knicks sensation. As Tsai noted, much of the film deals with Lin overcoming stereotypes and obstacles as the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA.

A spokesperson for Tsai didn’t respond to requests to clarify his tweet that MSG “refused” to screen the documentary. Without an explanation, Tsai’s accusation leaves out the context that the Garden doesn’t host movie screenings. For years, the Knicks and MSG gave Lin the cold-shoulder treatment after the point guard left them in the 2012 free agency for the Rockets. However, the sentiment seemed to change at the start of the pandemic, when MSG Network — undoubtedly starving for content — dedicated a week of programming to Linsanity.

When “38 at the Garden” first aired last year on HBO, the Knicks were supportive and participated in a screening/Q&A for season ticket holders at the Tribeca Film Festival. Separately, MSG Network interviewed the director, Frank Chi, to promote the film.