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The man who played a decade for the New York Knicks and helped them reach just their second NBA finals in 40 years was aggressively escorted out of Madison Square Garden last night by a team of security guards as Knicks owner James Dolan watched from a few feet away. The Knicks legend was then shipped off to jail, where he now faces three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of trespassing for refusing to leave.
After being released from prison, Oakley spoke with media about the ugly incident that did not look good for either party and is likely a thorn in the side of Knicks fans everywhere.
Some reports indicate that Oakley shouted at Knicks owner James Dolan, which wouldn’t be too far fetched when you consider their fragmented relationship. Oakley denies those claims.
“I was there for four minutes,” Oakley said late Wednesday night. “I didn’t say anything to him. I swear on my mother. They came over and wanted to know why I was sitting there. I bought the ticket. I said why do you guys keep staring at me. Then they asked me to leave. And I said I’m not leaving.”
Oakley’s relationship with Dolan can be exemplified by Dolan excluding Oakley from invitations and tributes reserved for former players, according to the NY Daily News. He recently told the New York Times that he’s interested in reconciling with Dolan, but the Knicks owner has no interest.
“I want to sit down to talk to him. I want me and him in a room. And lock the door,” Oakley said. “Lock that door. … I mean, he can have the police outside the door.”
The Knicks PR team released a statement following the incident that did little to protect the reputation of one of its fanbases most beloved players.
Former Knicks President Dave Checkett, who was the owner when Oakley was the Knicks’ enforcer, told the media that he couldn’t bail out Oakley because he was in Boston but gave the following sentiment that appears to side with the former All-Star.
“For many years at the Garden, he was heart and soul, blood and guts, he gave it his all, all the time,” Checketts told The News. “So I wanted to see if I can help.”
This is a messy situation all-around and the facts are still hazy at this point, but something tells me that Dolan better have a damn good reason for kicking Oakley out to salvage what’s left of his reputation after the Knicks are yet again in the basement of the Eastern Conference.