Charles Oakley was a New York Knick for nearly 10 years. Often cited as the heart and soul of the team, alongside his more tangible defense and rebounding contributions, Oakley worked through five different coaches in New York. He made an All-Star team despite rarely having a play called for him, and he often took on the team’s toughest front court big man defensively. The guy worked his tail off for the Knicks.
He also pulls no punches in calling out the team that dealt him for Marcus Camby in June in 1998, correctly pinning the team’s problems on the franchise’s problems on Knicks owner James Dolan. Dolan ignited a firestorm this week when a nasty, childlike and petulant email he wrote to a fan was lead by Deadspin, with all manner of Knick fandom bonding together to beg Dolan to sell his interest in the team – something that ain’t gonna happen.
Happy to toss some fuel into that firestorm, Oakley told TMZ that he thought Dolan was a “diva,” and absolutely went off on the guy during a promotional appearance on Wednesday. From the New York Daily News:
"As hard as I played for that motherf----r, and he don't want to talk with me?" Oakley barked.
"Everybody in New York liked me except this one guy. Why is this?" said Oakley. "Everywhere I talk to people - 'Why aren't you working with the Knicks?' I said I try to. They said, 'What, is it Dolan?' I talked to maybe a million people. He's a bad guy."
"I asked the commissioner to set up a meeting with (Dolan), take a step forward," said Oakley. "I want to know what I did to be hated so bad by an owner. The dad (Charles Dolan), I never heard him say nothing bad about me. I asked players I played with to go talk with (James Dolan). He said he don't want to deal with me."
Oakley told both the Daily News and TMZ that he uses online ticket brokers when he has to purchase Knick tickets, and though Dolan and the Knicks aren’t truly required to give away seats to a guy that hasn’t been with the team since 1998, a little something would be nice.
[Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
Especially considering the franchise’s laughable “Once a Knick, always a Knick” mantra, or the fact that team president Phil Jackson was Oakley’s assistant coach during his last season with the Chicago Bulls.
That’s James Dolan for you, though. This is the man that drove Marv Albert out of Knick broadcasts because Albert had the journalistic temerity to suggest that the Knicks weren’t all that great (New York would go on to average 28 wins a season in the six campaigns that followed Albert’s departure). He’s the guy that berates and fires security guards for doing their job. He’s that guy.
Charles Oakley is proud, brusque, defiant, opinionated, sometimes wrong but often right. Charles Oakley, and not James Dolan, is the consummate New Yorker.
Get him some tickets.
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