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.
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."
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: What Dolan doesn't understand: By trying to win battle w/ Oak, he's lost war. Between Dolan/Jackson, Knicks are toxic free agent destination
Charles Oakley announced that he will hold a press conference regarding his latest issues with the New York Knicks, he announced on Twitter.. “I love NYC,” Oakley tweeted. “I LOVE the Knicks that you for all your love .. I will be holding a Press conference next week Let's go Knicks.”
Oak tells it exactly like he sees it. He’s not politically correct, and can be his own worst enemy. He says the things, sometimes, that will get him banned, as it has from the Knicks with brutal criticism of management and ownership, and even with his buddy Michael in Charlotte when Oak was an assistant coach there and they had to quietly dump him because he was violating the labor moratorium by being honest with media and potentially costing the team $1 million fines in multiples.
I don’t know what happened, and the Knicks seem sure they have the independent witnesses to back up their contentions of Oakley’s erratic behavior, and maybe to them it was and not to Oak. I just have never known Oakley to fabricate events even when they made him look bad.
Knicks fans showed up to Madison Square Garden on Friday night for the Knicks’ game against the Nuggets chanting “Free Oakley” and holding up signs in favor of the New York basketball legend.
Ian Begley: A fan seated behind Dolan was holding up a sign in the closing minute. It was quickly confiscated by security. Unclear what the sign said.
Although J.R. Smith is most known for not wearing a shirt, he's actually a pretty big shirt guy. There's his tattoo shirt, the J.R. Smith for President shirt, and now Smith is promoting an "I'm with Oakley" shirt. It's made by Fresh Brewed Tees (where you can also get his other shirts). Smith encourages fans with an added message, "We are with oak! Join the movement. Purchase your shirt now."
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.”
“Once we were able to finally get Charles to the back of house he was saying things like: ‘This is all Dolan. I didn’t do nothing. This is some (expletive). “At this point Phil (Jackson, the Knicks' president) came out to talk to him and he was still very angry and didn’t seem to want to talk to anyone. When we got down to the bottom of the ramp, and NYPD started taking statements from our employees and identifying who was injured.”
Ex-NY Knicks player Chris Smith -- the younger brother of J.R. Smith -- has taken Charles Oakley's side in the NBA legend's war with the team ... releasing an "I'm With Oakley" shirt. Chris is a co-owner of New Generation Management (along with Daniel Hazan) -- the same company that did the famous J.R. Smith tattoo shirt.
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."
Michele Roberts: Painful to believe that my last image of Oak at MSG is him dragged out of the arena. Is this how we remember our Legends? #NoBan
The Michael Kay Show: BREAKING: "Charles Oakley will never be allowed to enter MSG again, even if he purchases a ticket." -According to @RealMichaelKay
Marc Berman: Oakley wasn't coming tonight anyway but it's confirmed Oakley is banned from the Garden for now.
Barbara Barker: Security report said John McEnroe was trying to get near Oakley, but was held back. I would have liked to hear that interaction.
Ian Begley: The Knicks sent out an email with 16 witness statements from the Charles Oakley incident and say video will be provided later today.
The Madison Square Garden Company has parted ways with its security chief, two days after Charles Oakley was arrested after getting into an altercation at a New York Knicks game, a team official confirmed to The Undefeated's Mike Wise. The official wouldn't say whether the firing of Frank Benedetto, formerly the senior vice president for security for MSG, was related to the Oakley incident.
Marc Berman: Francesa reading security guard report. Oakley cursing security people before got approached because they were staring at him.
Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan has fired his top security chief in the wake of this week's clash between Knicks legend Charles Oakley and arena security personnel during a nationally televised game, DNAinfo New York has learned.
The guards were initially told not to let him in by Garden management, sources said. But he was eventually allowed into the stadium. Oakley has attended other games at Madison Square Garden without incident. Sources said Dolan may take further action against other employees over the flap, sources say.
Charles Oakley's wife tells TMZ Sports the NBA star does NOT have a drinking problem -- and any suggestion he does is pure garbage. We spoke with Angela Reed Oakley who says she and her husband are upset with the Knicks suggesting he needs to "get help" following the incident at MSG on Wednesday night. "He doesn't have a drinking problem. It would've come out a long time ago if he did."
Dwyane Wade: 10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won't be this picture. It will be the imagine of him being taken down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!! #StayWoke We
Charles Barkley said that the entire thing was simply bad for basketball as a product. He called it "a black eye for the entire sport," and said that "we're supposed to put a good product out there, and that was just a bad night for the NBA.
Kurt Helin: New York fans break out “FREE OAKLEY” chants at MSG during NHL game (VIDEO) dlvr.it/NL9V26
Marc Berman: Charles Oakley chants breaking out at Nashville-Rangers game at Garden. Can't wait for tomorrow.
Jayson Williams said Dolan and the Knicks crossed the line by saying Oakley “was a great Knick, and we hope he gets some help soon" at the end of their statement. “What pissed me off is when the (statement) said 'help' that they made it look like he was intoxicated," Williams told ESPN. "(If the Knicks meant Oakley had an) anger issue ... the anger issue is what made the Knicks what they were. ... It wasn’t about no damn anger issue when he was on the basketball court (playing for the Knicks). This made it look like the man was intoxicated. ... Charles Oakley buys a ticket to a Knicks game, and what is wrong with that? He is paying his $300 to watch the Knicks play. That statement was meant to hurt Oak. That was hateful. ... (Dolan) meant to hurt Oak."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Charles Oakley says he doesn't have "beef" with James Dolan on the Stephen A. Smith show on ESPN New York 98.7: "I'm not going to argue with James Dolan. I don't have beef. I've been trying to meet with him for five years. He don't have to like me... I feel sorry for the fans."
Al Iannazzone: Oakley says on ESPN-NY Radio Michael Jordan called to check on him last night. Stephen A. said Phil Jackson reached out to MJ to call Oak.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Charles Oakley says the Knicks' statement saying that "we hope he gets some help soon" was like a "smack in the face." "That is another smack in the face like the security guard came over to tell me to leave," Oakley said on The Stephen A. Smith show on ESPN New York 98.7. "They want to be cute with the statements. It's cool. They want to say that and be all harsh with things, I can deal with it... I don't want to go to the Garden if this keeps happening (where) someone keeps watching over me."
Dwyane Wade: 10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won't be this picture. It will be the imagine of him being taken down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!! #StayWoke We are not above this treatment! instagram.com/p/BQTUdaDBTC3/
June 19, 2021 | 12:07 pm EDT Update
Malika Andrews: Nets Jeff Green, in part, on what he expects from Kevin Durant in tonight’s Game 7: “He’s been carrying us and I believe tonight won’t be no different. He’s going to go out there and play his heart out and put us on his back and lead us to the win.”
Have you ever seen an angel tattoo with LaMelo Ball’s hairdo??? Well, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year just got it done on his right forearm — and it’s pretty awesome! TMZ Sports has learned … the Charlotte Hornets star wanted to get a tat of himself as a cherub, so he hit up his ink master, Herchell L. Carrasco.
Marc J. Spears: Emotions for @clipperdarrell after his Clippers got the huge comeback win to advance for the first time to the Western Conference Finals. 📸: Ji Hao Jo Wiley pic.twitter.com/X9hBqfQfhO
June 19, 2021 | 8:15 am EDT Update
Pau Gasol was named by Spain to the preliminary list of players set to start training camp ahead of the Olympic Games. His brother, Marc Gasol, is also among the 18 players called up by head coach Sergio Scariolo. Ricky Rubio, Juan Hernangomez, and Willy Hernangomez are the remaining NBA players on the list.
Of course, the Nets will have their excuses to lean on in the event they are eliminated by the Bucks. Irving’s ankle sprain was a dramatic game-changer in this series, and though Harden looked physically better in Game 6 than he did in Game 5, he still wasn’t half the force he was with two healthy legs. “It’s not even about rust,” Harden said. “It’s about being able to move. … I’m out there to do whatever it takes to win. I’ve got to be better on both sides of the ball, which I will be for Game 7.”
Not yet. Not at a championship level. And, honestly, probably not near a championship level. “This one … this is going to eat at me for a long time,” Mitchell said. “Even when I go to the grocery store, I’m going to be thinking about this.” The Utah Jazz were spectacular on Friday night. Spectacular in building a 75-50 lead. Spectacular in blowing almost all of that lead in less than 12 minutes and allowing a Los Angeles team missing Kawhi Leonard to make them look like one of the worst defensive groups on Earth.
“It was a tough night for us all the way around,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We called timeouts to adjust how we defended. We tried stunting defensively. We went zone. But we got into full rotations and help situations, and we gave up looks trying to protect the rim. It was just a tough night. We were trying to guard the ball, and we struggled to stay in front. When Rudy came over to protect the rim, Mann made shots. Everybody made shots. Seventy-four percent from 3-point range is an unusual number. But there were things we didn’t execute on.”