There are conflicting reports about the incident involving New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley. We finally heard from the man himself.
Former New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley was forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night following an altercation in the stands near owner James Dolan. Oakley was arrested and charged with three counts of assault. There have been countless reports about what transpired, but now we finally got to hear from the Oak man himself.
Per Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Oakley spoke about the incident following his release from custody.
“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 said at a New York restaurant after his release from Midtown South Precinct shortly past midnight ET. “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’s account of what transpired goes against Begley’s police source or a fan witness.
A police source told ESPN that Oakley had purchased a seat a few rows behind Dolan and was making comments at the Knicks owner, who eventually had security escort him from the arena.
A fan who was sitting near Oakley said the former player was being boisterous, but the fan did not hear Oakley speak directly to Dolan or address the owner in any way before he was approached by security.
Oakley’s beef with James Dolan is famous among Knicks fans. The 53-year-old has publicly trashed New York’s owner on a number of occasions. He’s called Dolan a “bad guy” and another less kind word. There’s so much bad blood there that Oak had to buy his own tickets to the game. Despite all that, the legend says he still loves the franchise.
“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 Knicks buried Oakley in a tweet almost immediately following his ejection.
“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner,” the Knicks wrote in a statement on Twitter. “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.”
Fans chanted for Oakley as he was escorted away from the court. When was the last time a Knick got a chant like that? Maybe Ron Baker. That says a lot about the state of the Knicks.