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NEW YORK, USA – The feud between ex-New York Knicks forward Charles Oakley and his former team continued to simmer Thursday, a day after Oakley was arrested at a Madison Square Garden game.
Oakley, who swung at arena security personnel and was arrested and charged with 3 counts of assault, told ESPN on Thursday that Knicks owner James Dolan has resisted efforts to re-establish harmonious relations.
“He don’t want to meet with me,” Oakley told the network’s website, The Undefeated. “Man won’t even shake my hand.”
Oakley’s outburst came as he sat in the stands near Dolan during the Knicks’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Oakley insisted, however, that he never addressed or insulted Dolan. Instead, he said the trouble started when he and friends who attended the game were told to leave the building.
“I’m a Knicks fan. Played here for 10 years. I love the Knicks. I love New York. This is my heart. I wish them all the luck and success on the basketball court. And I don’t know why I’m not welcome into the Garden,” he said.
The 53-year-old Oakley was angered by a statement tweeted by the Knicks public relations staff on Wednesday night which ended: “He is a great Knick and we hope he gets help soon.”
“Right there, attacking my character like that – not making it about the moment but something bigger that’s wrong with me? – I couldn’t believe it,” Oakley said. “I don’t know how you do that. I don’t.”
But the Knicks didn’t relent on Thursday, saying his version of events was “pure fiction”.
“There are dozens of security staff, employees and NYPD that witnessed Oakley’s abusive behavior,” the Knicks said in a statement. “It started when he entered the building and continued until he was arrested and left the building.
“Every single statement we have received is consistent in describing his actions. Everything he said since the incident is pure fiction.”
Oakley was a popular figure on the Knicks when they were perennial playoff contenders for a decade, from 1988-98.
As he was pulled out of the arena on Wednesday fans chanted “Oakley, Oakley, Oakley”.
NBA veteran Dwyane Wade, now with the Chicago Bulls, voiced his disapproval of the Knicks’ treatment of Oakley on Instagram.
“10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won’t be this picture” of Oakley in a Knicks uniform,” Wade posted.
“It will be the imagine (sic) of him being taking down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!!”
Clippers guard Chris Paul objected to the “hope that he gets help soon” crack from the Knicks.
“Not the right way to portray Oak,” Paul tweeted. “Always had my back and the realest person our league has seen #UncleOak.” – Rappler.com