James Dolan consistently comes in at or near the bottom of lists of worst sports owners. Why, just last April, a panel of ESPN experts rated him dead last in the NBA — behind then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling — and that was well before his Knicks’ dregs-of-the-league debacle this season.

Of course, no one bears the brunt of Dolan’s unlikeability and incompetence more than Knicks fans themselves, and many have expressed their wish to see him gone. However, most of those fans have not heard back from the man himself, and certainly not in the exceedingly unpleasant way that Irving Bierman did.

Bierman, the father of filmmaker Aaron Bierman (“Release: The Jack Ryan Story“), sent Dolan an email, detailing his disillusionment with the owner’s stewardship of the Knicks. Here is the text of Bierman’s email, via Deadspin, which was signed “Respectfully,” along with his name:

Subject: I have been a knicks fan since 1952
At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from your dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Bringing 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.
As a knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks. Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction Obviously, money IS NOT THE ONLY THING. You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.

Okay, not complimentary, but surely no different than plenty of emails Dolan must have received over the course of his often disastrous, 16-year ownership of the Knicks. What made this one different was the reply the 73-year-old Bierman received (again, via Deadspin), which ESPN verified came from the Madison Square Garden chairman:

Mr Bierman
You are 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. 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. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.
Respectfully
James Dolan

Well, that wasn’t very classy. It’s hard to say what’s more remarkable, that Dolan a) thought Bierman’s fairly mild letter (apart from the all-caps “STUPID”) was particularly “hateful,” or b) that the owner decided to reply to such perceived hatefulness in such an overtly hateful manner.

Implying that someone is an alcoholic, especially coming from the smug perch of a recovered alcoholic — who should have learned something about compassion — is a low blow. And it represents yet another low point for the franchise and its beleaguered-yet-loyal fan base.

“[Getting a reply from Dolan] blew me away to begin with,” Bierman told the Wall Street Journal. “Then I read it, and I wanted to throw up. The words he was using, I couldn’t believe it. What he wrote in his email had nothing to do with what I mentioned in my email. Like one is tangerines and the other is matzo balls. I mean, it’s ridiculous.” …
“Honestly I had no idea [Dolan] had a drinking problem,” Bierman said. “I didn’t care, and the fact that he’s been sober for 21 years, good for him. God bless him…[The] last time I had a drink, I was 18. Now I am 73. I mean, how dare he?” …
“I’m not getting into a fighting war with the guy, although I’d love to get into a room with him one on one, nobody around, you know, let’s talk,” Bierman added to the Journal. “But email is not the way to do it.”