Former NBA star Charles Oakley, who was arrested after a skirmish with security in New York’s Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game appeared in court on Tuesday to face an arraignment on assault charges but he says he’s not the one with the problem, it’s owner James Dolan.
Oakley, tussled with guards at the garden during a game on Feb. 8 and was booted from the arena, then banned from it. He has said that Dolan, who he has been critical of over the direction of the team, has guards following him whenever he comes to see the Knicks play. “I buy my own ticket. I don’t feel like I owe them anything,” prosecutors said he told a detective the night of his arrest, according to the New York Daily News. He told cops that he’d had “a couple of drinks” but Dolan tried to hint that he had an alcohol problem. “Every time I come to the Garden, nothing good happens,” he said.
In the incident, Oakley says Garden security asked him to leave without offering a legitimate reason. But the staff at the arena says the was belligerent and a criminal complaint said he shoved an event manager. Oakley denies he did anything wrong.
“I bought the ticket,” he said outside the courthouse to reporters following him. “I sat in my seat. Eight people came over and the next thing you know you’re being dragged out of the Garden. It’s some B.S. to me but it’s a process.
The ban against Oakley was lifted after a large backlash against Dolan, defending the basketball legend and a meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. But he has not said if he will ever return to the Garden after what happened.
The arraignment hearing lasted only a short time and Oakley was ordered to return to file motions by May 16 and to appear in court again May 30.
Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998, went to the 1994 NBA Championship with the team and appeared on the NBA All-Star team that same year.