NY Knicks Owner On Charles Oakley: 'He May Have a Problem With Alcohol'

By Dorri Olds 02/14/17

The legendary baller was banned from Madison Square Garden after a recent incident.

The altercation between Charles Oakley and Dolan's security.

Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley was thrown out of a Knicks game last Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (MSG) for allegedly heckling the team's owner, James Dolan. 

Videos of the incident popped up across the web and show an agitated Oakley towering over a small herd of security guards as they surrounded him. Oakley became enraged and began shouting, shoving and pushing, at which point the security guards grabbed him by the arms and dragged him out of the arena. Oakley was then taken to Midtown Precinct South, where he was charged with three counts of assault and criminal trespass. He was released the same night.

Dolan has since banned the 53-year-old NBA All-Star from MSG, but said, "nothing that would make me happier than to [someday] see Charles Oakley be at center court, being honored along with the rest of his teammates and my shaking his hand."

One witness claimed that Oakley “smelled of alcohol” and “may have had too much to drink” before the incident, while another said he had not been drinking.

The Knicks issued a statement on Twitter the evening of the incident: “Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner. He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.”

Dolan, who is in recovery himself, told the New York Post, “I’m sure he has problems. I didn’t have the problem he has, but when you’re fighting addiction, it’s not that much different from anger management or other diseases where you can’t control yourself. The first step is to turn that around for yourself [by] admitting you have a problem. And then from there you can begin to take the steps to take control back in your life.”

On Saturday, Oakley countered to the New York Post, “Dolan might think because I go to volunteer at Rebound Institute treatment centers with [former New Jersey Net] Jayson [Williams] that I’m a client. I’m just supporting the amazing work Jayson is doing. I’m not an alcoholic, but Jayson is."

Late Wednesday night, Oakley told the New York Daily News: “I was there for four minutes. I didn’t say anything to [Dolan]. 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.”

Dolan made a rare interview appearance on The Michael Kay Show this past Friday where he speculated about Oakley. According to USA Today, Dolan said, “To me, Charles has got a problem. We’ve said it before; he’s his own worst problem. People have to understand that. He has a problem with anger. He’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol. But those problems with being physically and verbally abusive, those are problems. I do think Charles needs help."

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.