James Dolan,Charles Oakley: The confrontation at the Garden
February 28, 2017
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On Feb. 8, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers met at Madison Square Garden, but the main storyline of this night being about the basketball game would quickly be thrown out the window.
Halfway through the first quarter Madison Square Garden security swarmed to a section of courtside seats to remove what many thought was just a testy fan until the person stood up and it was revealed that the fan was former Knick star Charles Oakley. Oakley has had some beef with outspoken Knicks Owner James Dolan over the years.
Oakley made some comments to Dolan before taking his seat. So Dolan, who thinks of the Garden as his own private country club, decided to have Oakley removed from the building because he didn’t like what he heard.
This conflict has been brewing for the past 20 years since his 10-year tenure with the Knicks ended in 1998. Over the past few seasons the Knicks have honored their squads from the 90s that always made deep playoff runs; however, there was always a certain player missing Charles Oakley.
Since his playing career has ended, Oakley has voiced his thoughts about Dolan with comments that “he is not a nice guy.” Now while this may seem like a one-time incident for Dolan you would be sadly mistaken.
Over his tenure as Knicks owner, Dolan thinks he has a high basketball IQ and likes to make ill-advised moves that blow up in his face, but instead of taking responsibility he would punish the head coaches by firing them.
One of his major blunders was the signing of Shooting Guard Allan Houston to a six- year $100 million contract which was $20 million over what other teams would offer. Houston would never make it to the end of this contract and even while he was healthy, Houston would not be the playmaker he was paid to be.
Another victim of the James Dolan leadership has been the fans. The main example was 73-year-old Irving Bierman who in Feb. 2015 would write a note to Dolan criticizing his leadership skills and said how he should act more like his father.
Dolan would decide to reply to the letter writing that Bierman sounds like he is an alcoholic and should seek help for his problems.
Leadership skills like this would once again show up when the Charles Oakley incident did occur.
After the event the Knicks PR would release a statement that was Dolan-esque. The statement at the end would say that “we hope Charles Oakley gets help soon,” a phrase that Dolan also used when he sent his letter to Irving Bierman.
Now I agree they should have released a statement on the matter, however to publically say he needs help no matter true or false is an extremely wrong move to make.
This whole disaster has been just another story for the Knicks roller coaster season much like the roller coaster ride that has been going on for the last 20 years since James Dolan started to push himself into everyday operations of the Knicks. Since this event Charles Oakley has been invited back to Madison Square Garden.
However, Oakley has not accepted the invitation and I do not expect him to. In fact, Oakley went to see the Knicks play in Cleveland and had court side seats with Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert.