Photo: The New York Post
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse at Madison Square Garden, Wednesday night happened.
With a little over six minutes remaining in the first quarter of the Knicks game with the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, a ruckus began to occur just a few rows up from the floor. As is the case whenever anything loud and out of the ordinary happens, everyone stops, looks, and whips out their cell phones to record. What no one knew at first was that the gentleman involved in the dispute with Garden security was 10-year heart and soul member of the franchise, Charles Oakley. As a longtime Knicks fan, “Oak” was my favorite player from his era. Not blessed with great athleticism or blinding speed, Oakley used what he did have, a chiseled body and a take no prisoners attitude, to beat you. I remember him as the team’s enforcer back in the day, doing all the dirty work so Patrick Ewing and others could shine. Often times that meant being very physical and winding up on the floor. Well, judging from the disturbing video of the incident, Oak was definitely very physical, and he ultimately wound up on the floor. How sad and sordid I must say.
The whole fracas has now become a he said/he said war between Oakley and Knicks brass. Oak claims to have purchased his own tickets and was at the game to support his former team, when he was abruptly told he and his friends had to go. Always the battler, he wasn’t having it, and only when a phalanx of security personnel appeared did he got combative.The Knicks, who have been celebrating their 70th anniversary all year honoring former players along the way, but not Oakley, claim he was loud and yelling derogatory things at team owner James Dolan. That these two have not exchanged Christmas cards in many years is one thing, but what went down was completely unacceptable not to mention embarrassing. As they say, there are always two sides the story, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Photo: New York Daily News
The team released a statement following the incident that read:
“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.“
Talk about adding insult to injury. The last line of the statement is over the top and gratuitously attacks the man’s character if you ask me. Believe it or not though folks, there is some good news stemming from this “situation”. Remember earlier this year when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that after 146 years, the curtain was coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth” forever this May? Well, it turns out you can still attend the circus at the “World’s Most Famous Arena”, and it’s in town 41 times per season!
And that is My 2 Sense.