Thursday, February 9, 2017

Former Knick Charles Oakley arrested after fighting, getting tossed out of Madison Square Garden

On Wednesday night, Charles Oakley showed everyone the same bruising style that he displayed for decades on the basketball court while the New York Knicks met the Los Angeles Clippers — only this time the retired NBA star did it in street clothes and in the stands at Madison Square Garden.

The former New York Knick forward, known for his physical type of play that made him an all-star and helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals in 1994, adding another bizarre chapter to what has already been an ugly Knicks season after getting physically removed from his MSG seats and arrested — reportedly on the orders of Knicks owner James Dolan.

Moments after being arrested and released from Midtown South police station at around midnight, Oakley said that the Garden security asked him to leave because Dolan, who was seated just a few feet away, did not want him there.

“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”

Sources at the Garden and NYPD dispute Oakley’s account of the altercation, saying the scuffle was provoked by the former Knick yelling at his longtime nemesis Dolan.

Oakley was asked by several members of Garden security to leave, and then was seen shoving the phalanx of security guards and appeared to take a swipe at one. He even handed his watch to someone seated next to him before being escorted out. 

The white-haired Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault by the NYPD, including criminal trespass. A source said that Oakley declined legal representation because he was only hit with a desk appearance ticket. He was released from the Midtown South precinct at around midnight by police and snuck out the back door and into a black SUV, avoiding the waiting press outside.

Still a fan favorite, Oakley has a contentious history with Dolan and has been excluded from invitations and tributes reserved for former players. Oakley claims the owner doesn't like his outspoken criticism of the team and that the team’s slogan — “Once a Knick, Always a Knick” — hasn’t applied to the former All-Star under Dolan's reign.

The Knicks probably could have used old Oak out on the floor. They lost again, 119-115.

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