Time has not healed these wounds — only made them worse, it seems.
Knicks owner James Dolan and beloved former power forward Charles Oakley are still gridlocked in an ongoing lawsuit, which stems from an incident at Madison Square Garden, where Oakley was ejected from the arena and arrested following a clash with security personnel in February 2017.
Dolan discussed the matter in an interview with The New York Times, published on Wednesday, and shared the one part of the incident he wishes he could change.
“I wish I could change Charles Oakley,” Dolan, 68, said without further elaborating.
As for Oakley?
The former Knick — who’s been critical of Dolan during his tenure as the team’s owner — was in disbelief over Dolan’s comment, according to The Times, which spoke to him in a brief phone interview.
“That’s embarrassing for him to say that,” Oakley, 54, said. “He is the one who should handle himself better.”
Dolan considers his ongoing legal battle with Oakley an effort to “support his employees,” according to The Times.
“It’s a principle kind of thing,” Dolan said.
It doesn’t seem as though either side is willing to back down five-plus years into the legal battle.
Oakley was arrested while sitting courtside at MSG during a Knicks-Clippers game on Feb. 8, 2017.
In a civil lawsuit filed in December 2020, Oakley alleged that Dolan ordered his ejection, as well as “the use of unreasonable force.”
The melee was captured on camera and showed Oakley surrounded by a group of security and police officers.
The footage showed Oakley in a confrontation with MSG event manager Tom Redmond, who he told to “get the f–k out of my face,” according to The Athletic in an April 2021 story titled “Free Charles Oakley.”
Oakley allegedly “poked Redmond in the side of the face, then shoved another official twice,” the outlet wrote.
The former NBA All-Star was eventually escorted off the floor and handcuffed.
Oakley was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing.
The charges were dismissed after Oakley agreed to a plea deal in August 2017, which included a one-year ban from MSG.
In a statement on the night of the incident, the Knicks claimed Oakley had “behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner” and said, “We hope he gets some help soon.”
Elsewhere in the interview with The Times, Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Rangers, said he “[doesn’t] really like owning teams.”
Oakley, a 19-year NBA veteran, played for the Knicks from 1988-89 through 1997-98.
- James Dolan reignites Charles Oakley war of words over MSG incident
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