New York Knicks owner James Dolan was caught arguing with a fan during their loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, and subsequently kicked him out of the arena after the fan yelled at him to “sell the team.”
Naturally, the interaction didn’t set well with Knicks fans — and sports fans in general.
Charles Oakley, who played for the Knicks from 1988-1998 and has a well-documented tumultuous relationship with Dolan, has had enough.
“The commissioner needs to step in and do something, suspend him, something,” Charles Oakley told The Athletic’s Frank Isola. “He can’t keep getting away with it.”
Now, Oakley’s beef with Dolan is lengthy. Dolan even forcibly removing Oakley from Madison Square Garden and had him arrested in 2017 after they got into an apparent altercation near the court.
Oakley has tried multiple times to meet with Dolan over the years, too, and claims that Dolan has refused. He filed a lawsuit after Dolan suggested Oakley had a problem with alcohol, among other things, after he kicked him out of Madison Square Garden.
“This man told the security guards to throw me out for no reason,” Oakley told The Athletic. “I was banned twice in eight months. If I’m such a bad guy, why do they let me into Nets games? Chicago offered me a job. I go to games in Chicago and Toronto. Look at what happened to me and the other fans in New York. It keeps happening yet there is no punishment.”
It’s easy to see why Oakley and Knicks fans are frustrated. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013 and currently boasts a 13-54 record, the worst in the league. They traded away Kristaps Porzingis earlier this year, the player who was supposed to be the franchise centerpiece, which just piled onto the frustration with the struggling organization.
While commissioner Adam Silver likely won’t get involved anytime soon, Oakley’s comments are yet another example of how he and many Knicks fans feel Dolan is doing at the helm of the organization.
Oakley advises players to avoid Knicks in free agency
After Porzingis’ departure and an extremely high draft pick coming in, all eyes are on the Knicks when free agency hits this summer. Many believe they have a strong chance to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, among other big names, and help turn the struggling franchise around.
If Dolan can actually pull something like that off, it would likely do a lot to redeem himself in the eyes of the Knicks faithful.
Oakley, though, thinks Irving should take his talents to the opposite coast.
If either of them — or anyone else, for that matter — really do want to be in New York, Oakley recommended the team across the bridge in Brooklyn instead. Not only are the Nets set up better, but in his eyes, it’s simply not worth trying to work with Dolan the way he is.
“If you want to be in New York, look at the Nets,” Oakley told The Athletic. “Sean Marks has done a great job. The Nets have better pieces. You get Kyrie and K.D. or Kyrie and Kawhi and you have something. They have nothing bad going on with them. If Kyrie and K.D. come to the Knicks, it wouldn’t be enough. The Nets are winning. They’re not blowing teams out but they’re competing. The ball moves. You come to the Knicks … it won’t be easy.
“The fans deserve better, but there are too many distractions in New York. And it starts with the owner.”
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