Spike Lee won an Oscar!
Last night, Lee won his first Academy Award for adapting BlacKkKlansman from Ron Stallworth’s memoir about a black police detective who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan.
Lee’s speech was just as moving:
“From 1619 to 2019, 400 years, 400 years that our ancestors were stolen from mother Africa and brought to Jamestown, Virginia enslaved,” Lee said.
“Our ancestors worked the land, can’t see the morning, can’t see at night.”
Worth noting, Lee’s cinematography has always been on point too: Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Mo’ Better Blues, Summer of Sam, She Hate Me and He Got Game are all films that challenge the system.
Lee talked about his grandmother in his speech.
“My grandmother… who lived 100 years young, was a Spelman College graduate, even though her mother was a slave,” he said.
“My grandmother who saved 50 years of social security checks to put her first grandchild — she called me Spikey Poo — she put me through Morehouse College and NYU grad film.”
Spike Lee is passionate.
In his downtime, Lee is just as passionate. Why?
Well, because, he’s a die-hard New York Knicks fan.
Ironic that the day Lee won his prestigious award, the Knicks who at 12-48 have the league’s second-worst record, beat the San Antonio Spurs 130-118 at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.
For those interested: Dennis Smith, Jr. was the star of the show.
In his eighth game since being shipped to NYC in the Kristaps Porzingis/Dallas Mavericks trade, Smith, Jr. scored 19 points, 13 assists, six rebounds, two steals and no turnovers in the win at 2 Pennsylvania Plaza.
Lee, 61, is to the Knicks what Jack Nicholson is for the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center: a courtside fixture for almost 30 years.
Lee was probably just a tad bit more vocal with players, than Nicholson.
“He was always there and he was always a true supporter of the Knicks,” former Indiana Pacer Dale Davis told Scoop B Radio.
The 13th pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, Davis spent his first nine years of his NBA career with the Pacers.
He fondly remembers Lee’s fandom and junk talk to he and his Pacers teammates during their classic duels with the Knicks in the 90s. “He did whatever he had to do,” Davis recounted about Lee.
“I think he was getting in players heads,” he said.
Who can forget Lee and Reggie Miller’s jawing? “It kind of backfired,” laughed Davis.
It began in the opening round of the 1993 NBA Playoff between the Pacers and Knicks when John Starks headbutted Reggie Miller in game 3 and was ejected.
It carried over into the 1994 NBA Eastern Conference Finals where Knicks fans and Spike Lee watch Miller torch the Knicks for 39 points in in Game 5 at MSG.
The New York Daily News ran a cover story with Lee’s picture and the sarcastic headline, “Thanks A Lot, Spike.”
Davis says that both teams actually disliked one another, too. “During the time yes,” he said.
“During the series yes and after that it was more of a respect thing. We were friends. During those times, we ain’t have no love.”
In the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Miller scored 8 points in the final 18.7 seconds in Game 1 against the Knicks.
The classic Knicks/Pacers duels were exciting in the 90s. Davis remembers them like it was yesterday. “An all out slug fest, an all out war,” he said.
“It was hot at Madison Square Garden. I was bully ball, so it was an opportunity to see who was the best.”