Ian Begley: Madison Square Garden’s statement in response to Charles Oakley’s civil suit: “This is a frivolous lawsuit and nothing more than another attempt by Mr. Oakley to garner attention. We will deal with this accordingly.”
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Former New York Knicks great Charles Oakley is preparing to file a civil suit in response to a February run-in with security at Madison Square Garden and the incident’s aftermath, sources familiar with the matter told ESPN. Oakley’s civil suit is expected to be filed shortly, per sources. Oakley hinted at the possibility of taking civil action against Dolan when he accepted a deal to have charges stemming from the incident dismissed. It is unclear if the civil suit will specifically target James Dolan, the owner of Madison Square Garden and the Knicks, or the larger entity of Madison Square Garden.
Well, it certainly doesn’t sound like Charles Oakley is crushed by his one-year ban from Madison Square Garden. “I want to thank all my fans around the world. The case is over now that was the hard part. The easy part is stayin away from the Garden OAK,” the former Knicks All-Star power forward tweeted on his personal account Sunday.
So, when will Oakley return to a Knicks home game? “I just left New York; they weren’t playing,” he said, adding a chuckle to punctuate the response. “I don’t know. … That’s a billion-dollar question. … “Would you go back in the Garden?” he turned the question back to the reporter.
Knicks legend Charles Oakley on Friday rejected an opportunity to have charges stemming from a February incident at Madison Square Garden dismissed and requested a trial to fight those charges. Judge Joanne Watters set a trial date for Aug. 4 during Oakley’s appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court.
Oakley, in a dark suit, didn’t back off his stance he wouldn’t go back to the Garden anytime soon, and said he doesn’t understand the feud with Dolan. “Always an issue [when I go to the Garden],” he said. “I don’t know why there is an issue. I don’t bother no one. I buy my ticket, I go to my seat. I was sitting down when all this happened.”
Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass. He is accused of striking one security guard in the face with a closed fist, and when two other people tried to intervene, both were pushed and received cuts. He is due in court Tuesday. Oakley was set to travel to Chicago and attend Sunday’s service for former Bulls executive Jerry Krause and return to New York on Monday.
Charles Oakley says he’s “hurting” that ex-teammate Patrick Ewing didn’t call him after he was forcefully removed from Madison Square Garden last month … saying, “You should have been the first!” “I’m hurting because he didn’t call in and show love because I had his back for 10 years,” Oakley told TMZ Sports.
Charles Oakley sat courtside for the Knicks-Nets contest at Barclays Center on Sunday to promote the new three-on-three old-timers league. Speaking at halftime, the former Knicks enforcer was asked if the Knicks had shown enough effort. “I don’t know — you’re watching the game, so,” Oakley said. “[But] I have nothing to say about the Knicks.”
Oakley, a Cleveland native, sat next to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert as the Knicks fell to the defending NBA champions 119-104. He said he was rooting for a good game and rooting for the better team but didn’t have much to add about his feud with Knicks owner James Dolan. “I’m just taking it easy. I’m not worried about relationships,” he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
Charles Oakley is seated next to owner Dan Gilbert in Cleveland tonight for Knicks-Cavs. He said he’s rooting for a good game tonight and also said he’s rooting for the better team but didn’t have much to say about his feud with Knicks owner James Dolan.
When asked if things had cleared up between he and the Knicks, Oakley said, “How long would it take you to get over something?” Oakley’s lawyer, Frederick Nance, said Oakley would have more to say at the appropriate time.
Ian Begley: Charles Oakley plans to attend tonight’s Knicks-Cavs game in Cleveland, he confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Oakley’s close with LeBron.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is “disheartened” that the meeting he brokered between Charles Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan didn’t lead to a positive resolution, but he remains hopeful that peace can be reached. Silver said Oakley and Dolan apologized to each other when they met Tuesday, but Oakley was “emotional” and not ready to return as a guest at Madison Square Garden.
Ben Golliver: Adam Silver on Oakley/Dolan meeting: “I still think it was helpful. I’m still hopeful.” Says Oakley was ‘very emotional’ at meeting
But in hindsight, Oak said he feels it was calculated to steer All-Star Weekend away from the ugly spectacle of his arrest-by-force at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 8. It didn’t fix the years of ill will between himself and Dolan that detonated in the Garden stands last week. Bygones can’t be bygones yet. “I’m not happy,” Oakley said. “I told them I’m not happy. They’re tryin’ to sweep this under the rug. I gotta think about this. They tried to tell me, ‘Let’s get some understanding around this.’ I told them in the meeting, ‘My understanding is, it might be three, four, five years before I come to a conclusion how I feel about going back in the Garden. I’m not just going back in the Garden because you want to honor me.’
While James Dolan’s ongoing feud with former Knick Charles Oakley continues to unspool in public, the Madison Square Garden Chairman has an unlikely — yet ardent — ally in his corner. “I think Dolan’s a terrific owner. I really do,” Donald Sterling told the Daily News Thursday. “He does the best he can do, and unfortunately sometimes a player misunderstands. I was an owner for 33 years, and sometimes players misunderstand.”
“Oakley compared me to Dolan? Isn’t that amazing. I feel bad about Oakley. I wish that he could understand that there are no hard feelings by Dolan towards him. Owners don’t have hard feelings towards the players,” said Sterling. “They want the players to succeed, because when the players succeed, (owners) succeed.”
Chris Paul, the president of the Players Association, was here for union meetings, and voiced his displeasure for how Charles Oakley was treated by the Knicks and threw his support at Anthony as he deals with trade rumors and how he’s being treated by team president Phil Jackson.
“I know Oak personally so that was real tough to watch,” Paul said. “To hear them say they hope Oak is going to get some help, like he was mentally ill or something, that was tough. Since I’ve come into the NBA, we talk about looking out for younger players. Oak has been a guy who’s always checked on me, injury or anything like that. So to see him treated in that fashion in that arena was tough. I can speak for myself, but for other players I’m sure it was tough.”
Star players have come to Oakley’s defense, but James has a contrasting takeaway. In New Orleans to accept the Bobby Jones Award from the Christian organization Athletes in Action, James told The Post he thinks Oakley needs to grow up in retirement and not act like the “bully’’ he was as a player. “When people allow who they were to get in the way who they’re trying to be today … it’s about growth,’’ said James, who retired in 2014 after 13 NBA seasons, including a title with the Pistons. “So why not try to figure out a new way — not feel like you’re losing your manhood — that you’re gaining? “That’s the hardest thing for him,’’ James added. “You lived as a bully your whole life. At some point, even the bully has to realize bullying isn’t really that cool.”
James emphasized Oakley was a terrific teammate and veteran leader as a player, but would be better served if he changed his tough-guy persona in retirement, especially if he has eyes on landing a job with the Knicks. “He was known for smacking cats in the face if they stepped out of line,’’ James said. “If he said he was going to do something, he was going to do it. As an owner, if you have a big black man pointing a finger at you, I don’t care who you are. He says he’s going to do something — and has been known for doing something his whole career — what makes you think this situation is going to be any different? “When you can be the baddest person and yet be the softest person, that’s just about growing up and presenting a different type of person in a different type of way,’’ James added.
Charles Oakley doesn’t expect his feud with Knicks owner James Dolan to ever end, saying “some things can’t be solved.” And the former Knicks forward may have started a new feud of sorts with the NBA by saying commissioner Adam Silver’s meeting with Oakley and Dolan on Monday at the league office was an effort “to make themselves look good.”
“I told them I’d rather go to jail than them saying they did something for me,” Oakley said, referring to the meeting with Silver, Dolan and Michael Jordan, an Oakley friend, who was on a conference call. “That’s how bad this is for me. I’d rather go to jail.”
Charles Barkley knows how Dolan feels — he has been the target of Oakley trash talk for years now. The thing is, Barkley doesn’t quite know the reason. “The guy hates me and I don’t know why,” Barkley said from the green room before kicking off TNT’s All-Star studio coverage here. “But I don’t give it much thought. I don’t know why. I just kind of laugh at it.”
On Jan. 31, when Barkley was in the midst of a back-and-forth with Cavaliers star LeBron James, Oakley chimed in on Twitter, writing, “the hater (Barkley) need to stop drinking at work.” Two weeks earlier, the New York Daily News had an item that claimed “a source” close to Oakley said that Oakley wanted to settle the score between the two big men, and that, “Our insider says Oakley proposed that he and Sir Charles could meet in the arena of Barkley’s choosing.”
Mike James, a former NBA point guard, grew up in Long Island in the 1990s a big fan of the Knicks and Charles Oakley. “Everyone loved Oak,’’ James said. James was a supporter of Oakley’s on the court – not off.
“When people allow who they were to get in the way who they’re trying to be today … it’s about growth,’’ said James, who retired in 2014 after 13 NBA seasons including a title with the Pistons. “So why not try to figure out a new way — not feel like you’re losing your manhood — that you’re gaining? That’s the hardest thing for him,’’ James added. “You lived as a bully your whole life. At some point, even the bully has to realize bullying isn’t really that cool.”
“He was known for smacking cats in the face if they stepped out of line,’’ James said. “If he said he was going to do something, he was going to do it. As an owner, if you have a big black man pointing a finger at you, I don’t care who you are. He says he’s going to do something — and has been known for doing something his whole career — what makes you think this situation is going to be any different?’’
The Crossover: Charles Oakley: James Dolan is on the “same level” as Donald Sterling. pic.twitter.com/SD4bO12Lmm
Maggie Gray: “Charles, what’s your reaction to that and do you see it that way?” Charles Oakley: “He’s definitely a control freak. He’s got everybody in the Garden on pins and needles. The other owners know this. That’s the bad thing about it. They’re going to let this end up like something that happened to the L.A. Clippers. It’s that bad, but they won’t talk about it. It’s that bad.”
Maggie Gray: “Do you consider James Dolan on that same level as a Donald Sterling?” Charles Oakley: “Yes.” Maggie Gray: “Do you believe that he’s a racist?” Charles Oakley: “He’s on the level. The level can be according to you building a house or you building a pyramid. This man has been around for a long time, and I ain’t heard nothing good about him.”
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said New York Knicks owner James Dolan operates with a “slave master mentality” by taking issue with Charles Oakley’s criticisms after the organization benefited from his contributions as a player. “You doing it for me, it’s all good,” Green said on his “Dray Day” podcast on Uninterrupted. “You doing it against me — you speaking out against my organization — it’s not good anymore? That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality. That’s ridiculous. “It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now, all of a sudden, when he says something that he feels, it’s a problem.”
According to a person close to Oakley, the ex-Knicks legend has yet to change his mind on his decision to decline owner James Dolan’s invitation to the Garden. Oakley, according to that person, is holding out hope the organization will release a remorseful public statement apologizing to him and the fans.
Oakley is not as upset over the ejection/arrest but the aftermath. On Friday, Dolan officially banned the former Knick from the arena and the owner went on radio Friday, suggesting Oakley may have an alcohol problem, an anger-management issue and is a danger to the public.
On an episode of his “Dray Day” podcast with Uninterrupted, Green sounded off about Dolan’s treatment of Oakley. The outspoken Warriors forward said Dolan had a “slave master mentality” with the situation. Green had an issue with how Dolan was fine with Oakley’s confrontational personality when it helped the Knicks, but not when he spoke out against the organization. “You doing it for me, it’s all good,” Draymond Green said. “You doing it against me…you speaking out against my organization, it’s not good anymore? That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality. That’s ridiculous. It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now all of a sudden when he says something that he feels, it’s a problem.”
One day after Oakley met with the Knicks’ owner, James L. Dolan, in an effort to end one of the more embarrassing episodes in franchise history, Oakley demanded Tuesday that Dolan publicly apologize to him. “I want to have a press conference, and I want him to apologize to me and the fans,” Oakley said of Dolan, adding that he still felt hurt. “There’s a swimming pool full of water; it takes a while when you drain it.”
“Some things don’t just walk away,” Oakley said in the radio interview. “A dog got a broken leg, he ain’t just going to walk away. He going to try to get himself together.” He added: “We had a meeting, tried to talk things out. We came to some kind of conclusion, an understanding, but this is going to hurt for a while.”
The New York Knicks lifted their ban on former player Charles Oakley on Tuesday, sources told ESPN, but Oakley says he just wants an apology. “It’s not about being at the Garden,” Oakley told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “It’s about the fans. I want them to apologize to the fans. I told the commissioner I want them to apologize to the fans.” Oakley said he is “in pain now. I’m hurt.”
Later on The Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN, Oakley was asked whether he would attend Madison Square Garden as Dolan’s guest. “Right now, no,” he said. “I told him yesterday.” “I have never asked for nothing,” Oakley added. “I love the fans in New York. They’ve been supportive. One of the things I told the commissioner, I want to have a press conference and I want him to apologize to me and the fans. They’ve had my back and they’ve felt the pain. I really appreciate the people all around who’ve had my back.”
Jeff Goodman: Oakley also told ESPN while he respects Michael Jordan immensely, “I’m my own man. … He didn’t tell me anything. I control me.” Sounds as though he won’t be at MSG anytime soon.
The New York Knicks lifted their ban on former player Charles Oakley on Tuesday, sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and The Undefeated’s Mike Wise. A source within the Madison Square Garden organization told Smith of the move, while Wise was informed by a source close to Oakley.
The team’s president hasn’t spoken formally to the local media since September — and, yes, this is a first, me taking the side of the local media in New York. Insinuating a substance or mental health problem is at the root of Oakley’s behavior toward Dolan is the height of character assassination. “The great organizations have great ownership, great management teams — they might not get along, but know how to argue — and put out a good product. The Knicks have none of those things,” one of the smartest sports execs I know said Friday. Someone needs to step in and get Dolan and Oakley in a room and reach some kind of peace. What say you, Commissioner Adam Silver?
A source close to Oakley says he is particularly upset over Dolan’s accusations that he has a drinking problem. Legal experts say that Dolan could be hit with a defamation lawsuit.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and his civil rights organization, the National Action Network, released a statement Monday calling for Dolan to lift the ban on Oakley. The NAN threatened to protest outside the Garden if Dolan does not comply with the demand.
Alex Kennedy: Adam Silver comments on the Dolan/Oakley situation:
Frank Isola: Adam Silver & Michael Jordan were on a conference call today with Jim Dolan & Charles Oakley, Daily News has learned
Latrell Sprewell was asked at the Knicks’ charity bowling event tonight about the perception that he was brought back on Sunday as a reaction to the Charles Oakley incident. “It is what it is,” he says. Sprewell said he found out on Saturday that he was coming back to MSG, though he had been talking to a Knicks official about a return for months.
The NBA may be ready to step in to help resolve the ugly feud between James Dolan and Charles Oakley. According to a source, the league office is considering having NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan step in to mediate a reconciliation. It is unclear when that meeting, likely via a conference call, would take place but there was a chance it would be either Monday or Tuesday. Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is Oakley’s former teammate in Chicago and Washington, and the two are close friends. Dolan announced on Friday that Oakley is banned indefinitely from the Garden following an altercation with MSG security last Wednesday.
Charles Oakley remains banned indefinitely from Madison Square Garden, but there has been “some momentum toward a resolution” between Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan, thanks to recent conversation between both sides, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN’s Ian Begley on Monday. It is unclear whether Oakley and Dolan have talked directly since Oakley was ejected from Madison Square Garden and subsequently arrested last Wednesday.
But there is a desire among people close to both parties to bring the public dispute between Oakley, one of the franchise’s most popular players, and Dolan, to rest, sources say. Both the Knicks and Oakley’s spokesperson, Akhtar Farzaie, declined comment when asked Monday afternoon about any potential resolution between the Knicks and Oakley.
“I mean, how can you say somebody is an alcoholic? You just can’t, in my opinion,” Spike Lee, speaking to a small group of reporters, said Sunday at Madison Square Garden while wearing an Oakley jersey. “And even if the person was, why would you say that? I don’t know why you would say that. All I can do is wear my jersey.”
Lee, a lifelong Knicks fans, believes that the Knicks’ treatment of Oakley — coupled with Phil Jackson’s direct and indirect criticisms of star Carmelo Anthony — will hurt their recruitment of free agents. “Who’s gonna come here?” Lee said. Earlier in the week, when asked to pick a side in the Jackson-Anthony feud, Lee told ESPN-Tencent that he’d help Jackson pack his bags.
Spike Lee was in the Garden hallway where Charles Oakley was arrested last week, and said there were tears in his eyes watching his friend get taken to jail. Four days later, Lee showed up in a #34 Oakley jersey, courtesy of a skilled stitch artist. “I went home (after Oakley was ejected), I got every jersey, game-worn, but I couldn’t find an Oakley jersey,” Lee said. “But I had three Landry Fields jerseys. So I took it to my guy, and he hooked it up. So officially, this is a Landry Fields jersey.”
“I’m not mad at any of the Knicks that showed up today,” Lee said. “I stood up for everybody, gave them love. Applauded. I stood up for everybody. So I’m happy to see them. Under better conditions, yes. But I’m happy to see them regardless. But it just looks so obvious to me. …I don’t know, you got to ask the Garden. I’m just happy to see these guys. I know all of them.”
Stefan Bondy: James Dolan is flanked by Latrell Sprewell and Bernard King.
Larry Johnson finds himself in the most uncomfortable of places — caught between loyalty to an organization and boss that have been good to him and supporting a former teammate who always had his back. “It’s hard to work at the Garden when Oak is not part of the family,” Johnson told the Daily News on Saturday
Johnson is considering not attending Knicks games until the feud with Charles Oakley and Garden management is resolved. “I love the Knicks and Mr. (James) Dolan is my guy,” Johnson added. “But I feel as if I’d be disrespecting Oak if I go to the Garden.”
Charles Oakley wasn’t the only fan ejected at the Knicks game Wednesday. According to a Garden source, a fan was thrown out for yelling obscenities at Knicks team owner James Dolan, before the Oakley incident. Though Oakley’s incident escalated and resulted in the arrest of the Knicks legend, the ouster of the unidentified fan did not cause a ripple.
“It’s not the first time,” the source said of patrons being ejected for derisive comments about Dolan. A source confirmed there was an additional ejection from Wednesday’s game.“Over the years, other fans have been thrown out for cursing Dolan.” One source said the fan shouted “Dolan sucks,” but another maintained it was far more distasteful: “[Expletive] you Dolan, you suck!”
“You gotta know who you’re going to. You’re not gonna walk up on Oak like that,” Wade said. “It is what it is. But to paint him as this person who needs help? You ask every player in this league, every young guy in this league, man. Oak has been nothing but amazing to us. All our experiences have been great. Is he a certain way, a certain mentality? Yes. You gotta know that when you’re dealing with him. But it was bad, man.”
While owner James Dolan has accused him of likely being an alcoholic in banning him from the Garden, Oakley continues to help fight alcoholism in supporting his friend, ex-Net Jayson Williams, and assisting a detox center in Delray Beach, Fla. “Dolan might think because I go to volunteer at Rebound Institute treatment centers with Jayson that I’m a client,’’ Oakley told The Post. “I’m just supporting the amazing work Jayson is doing. I’m not an alcoholic but Jayson is.’’
According to Oakley’s manager, Akhtar Farzaie, the former NBA enforcer has visited Epiphany Treatment Center several times, where he has cooked for patients. Oakley will hold a charity golf event, The Rebound Institute, on May 4 in Boca Raton to raise awareness and funds for several charities, including the Epiphany Center. The Rebound Institute helps people with addiction get treatment they otherwise couldn’t afford.
One day after owner Dolan announced the Knick legend can no longer attend any Garden events, Oakley said he will still visit the Big Apple often. “I’m in New York every two weeks,’’ Oakley said on SiriusXM radio. “I don’t have to ring a bell when I come to the city. I just do what I ‘m supposed to do when I’m in the city. I don’t shy away. I go to restaurants, plays, events, high schools. They don’t have to write about me helping the schools. The kids know and the people around me know.” In fact, Oakley was in town to attend Tuesday’s Thurman Munson Dinner, sitting at a major donor table. A source said he wasn’t planning on attending Wednesday’s Clippers-Knicks game until the last minute.
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October 17, 2017 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
Kyrie Irving, playing his former team in his first regular-season game with the Boston Celtics, heard hearty boos in pregame introductions and each time he touched the ball early in Tuesday’s opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Irving was the first player announced during introductions, and boos overwhelmed any cheers. He exchanged a quick dap with LeBron James before the opening tip. Then, after getting booed when he touched the ball on the first possession, he finished a floater over his former teammate for the game’s first points.