June 7th 2001: James Dolan promotes Steve Mills to President-Sports Team Operations for the New York Knicks
In a sign of consolidating power, Knicks owner James Dolan promoted Steve Mills to President- Sports Team Operations. In the new role, Mills had responsibility overseeing all business and team operational matters for the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, & New York Liberty. Ousted MSG President Dave Checketts originally hired Mills in 1999 to be the executive vice president of franchise operations. After the ouster, Dolan promoted Mills and Scott Layden started reporting directly to him. Before beginning his tenure at MSG, Mills spent more than 16 years working in the NBA league offices and was responsible for a variety of factors including working on the NBA Lockout in 1999.
Since ousting Checketts in May 2001, Dolan sought more control of both of his premier sports franchises in the Knicks & Rangers. Checketts had full control over MSG’s sports and entertainment operations. Rather than searching for a new president of MSG, Dolan decided to split Checketts’ responsibilities amongst Steve Mills and Seth Abraham. Abraham previously served as a long-time executive at HBO (originally founded by Charles Dolan, father of James Dolan). Abraham oversaw MSG’s entertainment assets including Radio City Music Hall, MSG Network, MSG Boxing, and the Theater at MSG. Mills was part of a 6 man office of the chairman that included Dolan, vice chairman Robert Lemle, Layden, Abraham, and Rangers President Glen Sather.
Ultimately this proved to be Dolan’s first of many power moves in MSG that directly and indirectly impacted the Knicks.