What happened on Wednesday night to Charles Oakley was bizarre, to say the least, even by New York Knick standards.
The New York Knicks have, for the entirety of James Dolan’s tenure as owner, been a joke.
There is simply no way around it. The list of achievements under the Dolan regime includes losing records, trading unprotected draft picks for aging or injury prone players, coaches charged with sexual harassment and most recently, tossing out legendary Knicks for voicing displeasure.
The Knicks have never and may never be a stable franchise under the leadership of Dolan. The only move he has made that has received praise (at the time) was the hiring of Phil Jackson.
Unfortunately for Dolan, he does not have the Midas touch.
Jackson’s tenure as President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks has been nearly as pathetic as Dolan’s ownership tenure. Just like Dolan, Jackson’s time in New York has been marked by failure and drama.
If you looked inside a Knicks’ jersey it would read “Once a Knick, Always a Knick,” but it has become more clear than ever that it means nothing to these two executives.
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Oakley was the heart and soul of the 90’s Knicks. You know, the last time the Knicks held a respectable basketball team.
In the franchise’s history, Oak ranks six in games played, third in minutes played, first in offensive rebounds, third in total rebounds and of course, the Knicks’ tough guy ranks second in personal fouls.
Oakley is one of the most important figures in Knicks history. To this day, he continues to be vocal about a team he, for some reason, still holds near and dear to him.
What has this gotten Oakley? Well, we saw on Wednesday night when his Knicks pride earned him is condemnation from James Dolan.
Carmelo Anthony, like Oakley, prides himself on being a New York Knick. He has been more loyal to the organization than arguably any player since Oakley — and what has Melo received for this?
Under Phil Jackson’s leadership, Anthony has been outcasted. Jackson, who could easily lessen the tension between the two by speaking to the media, has remained silent.
If anything, Jackson has only tried to worsen the relationship with his star player through social media. Recently, he appears to have come out and agreed with an article criticizing Anthony.
The star player of the New York Knicks, who as ESPN showed last night, has stuck with the Knicks through five coaches and has seen his teammates change more than 80 times, is getting pushed out the door.
The reality of the Knicks’ situation is simple: James Dolan and Phil Jackson have made the Knicks a team where former and currently players are not welcome. If Knicks who have spent years as loyalists to the organization can be treated with this much contempt, what does this say to future free agents?
There is little doubt in my mind that Carmelo Anthony, who is extremely well connected throughout the league, has been voicing his frustrations to guys around the league.
Players like Chris Paul, who may have had an interest in playing with Anthony, are certainly going to be hesitant to join the atmosphere Jackson has created.
He has made the Knicks, even with New York City and a player of Anthony’s status, a destination to avoid at all costs. To make matters worse, Jackson was hired in part because of his ability to attract free agents, in which he has failed miserably in.
Now, Dolan has made the Garden a place where former employees, including all-time greats, are not welcome to the point where if you voice your displeasure with the team, you will receive the Oakley treatment.
That is, facing the humiliation of being thrown out in front of the same fans you put everything on the line for each and every night.
“Once a Knick, Always a Knick,” right?