Former New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley was known as a beast on the court during his tenure in the NBA and at 53-years-old it appears that his demeanor hasn’t softened in retirement.
On Wednesday (Feb. 8) Oakley was charged with three counts of assault following an altercation in the stands near team owner James Dolan at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
According to published reports, during a stoppage in play as Kristaps Porzingis was shooting free throws in the first quarter against the visiting LA Clippers, Oakley was making comments at the Knicks owner who eventually had security escort him from the arena.
“What happened is me and four friends went to the game tonight, to watch the Knicks and Clippers. We did sit down, trying to have a good time. Next thing I know I was asked to leave the building,” Oakley told the Shadow League after his arrest. “I asked, ‘Why?’ and they said, ‘You have to leave because someone ordered you to leave.’ And I’m like, ‘I’ve been here four-and-a-half minutes.’
Oakley had been sitting mere feet from Dolan, reportedly said he purchased his own tickets. When Knicks realized that he was seated behind James Dolan they asked him, “why was he here.”
“I was there for four minutes,” Oakley continued. “I didn’t say anything to him. I swear on my mother. They came over and wanted to know why I was sitting there. I bought the ticket. I said why do you guys keep staring at me. Then they asked me to leave. And I said I’m not leaving. I’m a Knicks fan, played here 10 years. I love the Knicks. I love New York. This is my heart. I wish them all the luck and success on the basketball court. I don’t know why I’m not welcome into the Garden.”
The New York Daily News‘ Stefan Bondy reported security handcuffed Oakley and escorted him away from the arena. Oakley reportedly said, “Dolan did this,” alluding to Knicks owner James Dolan, as team president Phil Jackson was trying to calm him down, per ESPN.com’s Ian Begley.
SBNY Exclusive Part II: Charles Oakley getting pulled out of the Garden pic.twitter.com/WtsVVVitH3
— SportsBlogNewYork (@SportBlogNYC) February 9, 2017
Not everyone thought it was a fair decision, LA Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers told Sports Illustrated that he, “thought for a second I was gonna run down there, but then I thought, what the hell am I gonna do?”
Even Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James took to Instagram to voice his thoughts on Oakley’s ejection and arrest:
Charles Oakley played for the Knicks for more than 10 years and helped the franchise reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 1993 and the NBA Finals in 1994. He’s listed as sixth in Knicks history in games played (727).
Check out the video of the incident and Oakley’s response below.
Charles Oakley reportedly to be charged with 3 counts of assault after incident tonight https://t.co/X4KeHGitaH
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 9, 2017
Charles Oakley answers questions about what he says happened at The Garden on Wednesday night. pic.twitter.com/lx1JO1nBc8
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeagueTSL) February 9, 2017