Storyline: Charles Oakley Incident

176 rumors in this storyline

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.

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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.’

“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.

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.”

“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.”
7 days ago via ESPN

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.”

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.”
1 week ago via ESPN

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.”

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?

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.

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.”

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.’’

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.

One VIP escort, who directs fans to their seats, said Oakley “was upset the elevator was full, started being rude.” An employee described as a “club seat ticket taker” detailed an interaction with Oakley: “As soon as he came in he sat down, ‘What the (expletive) they looking at, why they looking at me, where (Knicks owner Charles) Dolan at?’ I said ‘Sir, calm down.’ He said ‘Do you know who I am?’ Why the hell these (expletive) security guards in my face, why they looking at me?’ The security guards came over and said some words. He said ‘get out of my face.’ I didn’t communicate with him. He kept going on ‘(Expletive) this one, (expletive) that one. Dolan this, Dolan that. What the hell you security guards gonna do? Yeah, you, you you.’ Pointing them out.”

We spoke with Oak’s longtime friend and spokesperson, Akhtar Farzaie, who tells us Charles feels Dolan is unfairly making him out to be violent alcoholic in the media. “Extremely outrageous and unprofessional of James Dolan to create a narrative of Charles Oakley in an attempt to make Charles seem like a monster.” “Very insulting and disrespectful to those that know him closely as a friend as well as his former teammates, more importantly to the loyal Knicks fans and the city of New York.”

Dolan, who has had an acrimonious relationship with Oakley for years, started the interview by confirming an earlier report that Oakley — who was a staple of the franchise in the 1990s, as well as a fan favorite — is banned from the arena. “It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban, but I think the most important thing with that is we need to keep the Garden a place that’s comfortable and safe for everybody who goes there,” Dolan said. “Anybody who comes to the Garden, whether they have been drinking too much alcohol, they’re looking for a fight, they’re abusive, disrespectful to the staff and the fans, they’re gonna be ejected, and they’re gonna be banned … We are gonna put the ban in place, and hopefully it won’t be forever.”

“It’s very clear to us that Charles Oakley came to the Garden with an agenda, with a mission in mind,” he said. “From the moment he stepped into the Garden, and I mean the moment he walked through those set of doors, he began with this behavior. Abusive behavior, disrespectful behavior … It just accelerated and accelerated and accelerated. All the way down to his seats, then ultimately with the confrontation with security, then eventually ending up with his being ejected and arrested.”

“I can’t explain why — we have video tape, we have dozens of statements, etc. I’m quite sure that everything we’ve given the press is very, very accurate,” Dolan said. “I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe he doesn’t remember it. I think that Charles has got a problem. I’ve said this before … he has a problem. People need to understand that. He has a problem with anger, he’s both physically and verbally abusive, he may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know. But those behaviors, being physically and verbally abusive, those are personality problems.”
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