James Dolan: Reply 'sort of tit for tat'

NEW YORK -- New York Knicks owner James Dolan said he engaged in a contentious email exchange with a Knicks fan earlier this week because the letter was sent to him "at the wrong moment" and he felt compelled to respond.

"I got sent a bad, hateful email," Dolan said Friday at a charity event in Manhattan. " ... I generally don't respond to the bad ones. This time, it just caught me at the wrong moment and I responded. Sort of tit for tat. And I knew I shouldn't have done that and I did it anyway because it made me angry. Because it was a personal, hateful attack."

The email, addressed to Knicks fan Irving Bierman, told the 73-year old to "start rooting for the Nets" and included personal attacks.

In his response, Dolan called Bierman "a sad person."

"Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess," Dolan wrote. "What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around."

Bierman's email questioned the decisions Dolan has made as owner.

"At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from you dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Brnging on Phil Jackson was a positive beginning, but lowballing Steve Kerr was a DISGRACE to the knicks. The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise," Bierman wrote.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said that Dolan will not be disciplined for the email.

"It's over and we got All-Star Weekend. I'd love to just focus on that," Dolan said Friday.

Dolan said he's received numerous positive emails from Knicks fans in recent days. He also said he is pleased with Knicks president Phil Jackson's job performance.

"Trust in Phil. Trust in Phil. I think he's going to do it," Dolan said, adding that he backs Jackson "190 percent."

Dolan hired Jackson in March and rookie coach Derek Fisher in June to help rebuild the franchise. Jackson received a five-year, $60 million contract and full autonomy from Dolan.