Charles Oakley was a New York Knicks power forward for ten years. Players and fans had grown to like his aggressive playing style in that length of time, making it that much sadder that he is no longer welcome at the Madison Square Garden.
As if the New York Knicks did not have enough distractions – with Carmelo Anthony trade talks still in full swing less than two weeks before the trade deadline – “Oak,” as the retired Knicks player is more commonly called, was arrested and charged with three counts of assault, and one count of trespassing in New York on Thursday morning. The incident would have been humorous if it had not been so sad.
The Knicks were facing an LA Clippers team that was welcoming the return of Blake Griffin from injury. Oakley said that he had been in Madison Square Garden, the most famous basketball arena in the world, for a span of four minutes when security started to order him to leave.
The Knicks, as an organization, contended that their former player was verbally harassing team owner James Dolan – which Oakley vehemently denied. After security insisted that he leave the building, the former NBA stalwart started shoving the men around him and wound up on the floor, before being handcuffed, booked and jailed at the New York Police Department.
The Knicks issued a statement afterward, “He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.” Chris Paul tweeted his reaction: “Hope that he gets some help soon? Not the right way to portray Oak…always had my back and the realest person our league has seen.”
Seeking Validation after 10 Years of Playing for The Knicks
The power forward has voiced criticism towards the Knicks over the years, including Dolan’s decisions as the owner. Dolan has time and again declined to meet with Oakley for a discussion and did not include him at the team’s 70th anniversary season affair.
For his part, the retired cager had expressed regret that he laid his hands on anyone, continuously evoking dismay that the team owner had refused to acknowledge his overtures. He also stated that every time he goes to the Garden, security immediately informs the team owner.
Past and Present NBA Players Express Support for Oakley
Apart from Chris Paul, no less than current NBA superstar Lebron James tweeted his reactions to the way Charles Oakley was treated by the team he bruised himself for, for ten years. Sharpshooter Reggie Miller, whose Indiana Pacers had a long time rivalry with the Knicks, likewise gave his own two cents when he tweeted, “Oak sweated for Knicks.. Pacers respect ya brotha..”