New York, N.Y.
Live from Madison Square Garden, one time known as Run’s House.
Let this ruckus be the first symbolic act against billionaire entitlement. Charles Oakley, legendary power forward and one of the greatest players on the unheralded Knicks dynasty of the 90’s was treated like a common criminal as he was suddenly surrounded by a phalanx of MSG security guards summoned by craven trust fund baby James Dolan. Oakley, who bought his own ticket to attend the game, was informed to relinquish his seat and leave the arena for allegations that he was being a nuisance to the snowflake owner sitting a few rows up and for being inebriated. Oakley claimed that he wasn’t doing anything of the sort nor was he drunk, but Dolan’s security was adamant that he should leave and proceeded to forcibly remove him. The enforcer, visibly shocked at the way he was treated, reacted violently, arguably justified, using the brutal physicality he displayed against the greatest players of all time, like Barkley, Jordan, and Reggie Miller, and started chest pumping and finger jabbing as Dolan’s personal militia and some of the NYPD (you’re welcome, sincerely yours, taxpayers) dragged him out to the aisles and was subsequently arrested and brought downtown, and handed a desk appearance ticket for this ludicrous attack on his legacy and dignity.
The videos are quite revealing from both angles. Showing the preposterous methods by Prince Dolan’s MSG Militia, utilizing tactics that looked disturbingly similar to the handling of the arrest of Eric Garner. Oakley’s shocked reaction at the impugning and denial of his rights as a paying customer to be there. And most of all, Prince Dolan’s reaction as the ruckus exacerbated. He just stands there and watches doing nothing to stop it, almost approvingly and with judgemental smugness, as one of the most dedicated athletes ever to play for the Knicks gets treated worse than a career felon or a rabid dog.
But there are actual reasons for this petty feud, and it mostly doesn’t reflect on the middle-aged manchild billionaire and perennially incompetent CEO, now that it has come to a decisive optically disastrous end.
Back in 2010, Lebron James, the best player in the game today, was about to leave his hometown team and was weighing his options about what team to play for (The Decision). One of those teams was the Knicks. According to a recent profile by the NY Times a few months ago, Oakley, a fellow native of Cleveland, dissuaded James from considering joining the franchise. The aftermath of this correspondence has not been kind to The Enforcer.
Oakley has been estranged from the Knicks organization for years, a rift that stems, at least in part, from Oakley’s inability to keep some of his more caustic opinions to himself. He has, at different times, criticized the team’s front office, coaches and resident stars. In 2010, he advised James to avoid signing with the Knicks in free agency, which hardly endeared him to the organization. He has also called James L. Dolan, the owner, a bunch of bad names.
Oakley may have also unwittingly gave the exalted son of Cablevision a paranoid rationale to keep him away from him, short of filing an actual restraining order. Although it’s apparent where he felt the necessity of having hired personal and tax-payer funded muscle to shield his thin skin and hair plugs.
“The boss don’t like me,” Oakley said last week. “I wouldn’t mind having a sit-down dinner with Dolan. I wouldn’t mind cooking him dinner.” Pause. “Might put something in it, though!” Pause.“I mean, I had at least 15 people try to set up a meeting. He won’t meet. I want to sit down to talk to him. I want me and him in a room. And lock the door. Lock that door!” Another pause. “I mean, he can have the police outside the door.”
Despite the coarse wording and inherit bitterness, which probably stems from being traded to the Toronto Raptors in 1999, and the writer’s illustrative placing of pauses, this was an actual reaching out to negotiate with Dolan and a man’s obvious devotion and appreciation to a team he had his greatest success in, . But like all men who inherited their wealth and position of power, the pathetic aspiring rock star was not having any of it and doubled down on his malignant disrespect. And naturally, meekly using his employees to throw shade on the legendary Knick.
Barry Watkins, a spokesman for Madison Square Garden, said: “The Knicks have fabulous relationships with almost all of our alumni. But when it comes to Charles’s relationship with the organization, he is his own worst enemy.” On Saturday, the Knicks celebrated the franchise’s 70th anniversary by honoring several former players and family members at halftime of their home opener at Madison Square Garden. Oakley was not among them. He cannot understand why he has been exiled. To him, it is beyond comprehension.
Not hard to comprehend anymore. As Jimmy, with the same aplomb that he utilizes his stadium security has his personal goon squad, which he actually did before to Oakley to intimidate him a few years ago, as used this preventable incident to accuse the Knick legend of being mentally unstable, a drunk and banning him from the arena, capping off his vindictive attempt to erase Charles Oakley from the history of the franchise, despite him being a member of the last time the team, although they did not win a title, was one of the most dominant and feared teams in the NBA.
But after this weaselly attempt to trash The Enforcer, Oakley has received support and reverence from all the best players of this era and his fellow legends, and thanks to social media, to universal support from fans old and new. And J.D., dickhead, has now joined the swelling ranks of hated, unmeritorious, self-entitled, tax evading, power tripping and abusing billionaires and the long overdue ire of sports journalism and broadcasters.
Let’s see him try to summon his secret service posse, net worth and his crack p.r. minions protect him from the deluge of jeers and karmic indignation. Although he’ll be a man short because he threw his chief security officer under the bus.
This face saving and ass covering decision, along with Oakley’s humiliation, is going to cost Dolan yet more millions in lawsuit settlements. Not that he has prior experience settling disgraceful embarrassing cases in court before.
Dolan is a very, very small man and a proven loser.And he has unwittingly and stupidly made Charles Oakley a bigger legend, and a working class hero for this desperate age of political strife and still widening economic disparity.
Keep on pushin’ no. 34.