Charles Oakley and New York Knicks Owner James Dolan have made amends Monday after last week’s altercation.
Tuesday, the Knicks organization lifted a ban on Oakley that was keeping him away from Madison Square Garden. Former Knicks star Oakley got into a verbal and physical altercation with the team’s security in the stands last week. Consequently, he was arrested and charged with three counts of third degree assault and one count of criminal trespass.
After the Knicks situations the team’s super fan filmmaker Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing) came to Oakley’s defense sporting Oakley’s throwback jersey days later. Current NBA star LeBron James also came to his defense after the New York Knicks released a statement shaming Oakley.
“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner. He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon,” stated the team’s press release.
James, who called Oakley after the incident, explained to reporters how the team portrayed him was inaccurate.
“He ain’t like that, and if you ask any player in our league now who knows him, they’d say the same thing,” James said.
TNT’s Inside the NBA discussed the altercation. This situation is something that should have been handled better, says analyst and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
“I know Oakley…if you provoke him and get him upset this will happen,” O’Neal said. “I don’t know what happened, I don’t want to speculate. But I don’t like this statement. When they said ‘he was a great Knick, maybe he should get some help soon;’ because that implies intoxication…mental abuse, stuff like that.”
Dragging a Knick legend out of the arena in the manner the organization did didn’t sit well with O’Neal either.
Speaking out about the incident Thursday, Feb. 9, was Oakley himself. A few men approached Oakley to leave the arena, he said. He even revealed he was four seats away from Dolan and didn’t say a thing to him. When the seven guys approached him it set him off.
“In the heat of the moment anything could happen,” Oakley said.
Before the incident Oakley and Dolan had beef and Oakley claims every time he enters the building the organization alerts Dolan.
“I just want to be treated right,” Oakley said.
To ensure he was, Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and NBA Comissioner Adam Silver stepped in to help. Meeting at the NBA Headquarters Monday, Feb. 13, was Silver, Oakley and Dolan with Jordan on the phone.
“Both Mr. Oakley and Mr. Dolan were apologetic about the incident and subsequent comments, and their negative impacts on the Knicks organization and the NBA,” Silver said.
The following day Oakley’s ban from Madison Square Garden was lifted. Rev. Al Sharpton could also be thanked for lifting the ban as he promised Monday his National Action Network would assemble outside of Madison Square Garden if Oakley’s ban was not lifted.
By Gino Terrell