The spat between New York Knicks owner James Dolan and former player Charles Oakley has escalated to the point that the NBA is reportedly considering an intervention.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, a league source said commissioner Adam Silver and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan may set up a meeting to try to reconcile the two. The source said a meeting, likely via conference call, could take place as early as Monday or Tuesday.
Jordan is a close friend of Oakley’s from their time playing together, and was contacted to try to calm Oakley down last Wednesday during the incident at Madison Square Garden.
Things have gotten ugly between Dolan and Oakley even beyond the initial embarrassing incident. The two are publicly arguing over whether or not Oakley is an alcoholic. It’s no surprise that Silver would consider stepping in, as the ongoing drama isn’t exactly good publicity for the NBA as a whole.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan continues to take all the Ls imaginable.
In a text to Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post Sunday, retired four-time All-Star Vin Baker said that a sad-sounding Dolan called him up asking Baker to come sit with him despite the two not having spoken for the last 15 years.
Text from Vin Baker: "[Dolan] called me sounding really sad asking me if I would come sit w/him. Hadn't spoke to him in 15 years." #Knicks
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) February 12, 2017
Baker, now 45 years old, played with the Knicks for parts of two seasons from 2004 to 2005.
Of course, this all appears to be a misguided attempt on Dolan’s part to save face and prove that he still has street cred with his former players in the wake of the Charles Oakley incident. After all, we already saw one prominent ex-Knick suddenly reconcile with Dolan during Sunday’s game against the Spurs.
But the bad news for Dolan is that he’s not fooling anybody with this horribly contrived dog and pony show and will only serve to further alienate the Knicks fans with such a pathetic display.
Just days after he instructed security to kick a beloved former New York Knicks player out of Madison Square Garden, team owner James Dolan has decided to reconcile with another.
Latrell Sprewell, who was a fan favorite during his five seasons with the Knicks, publicly feuded with Dolan toward the end of his tenure in New York about 15 years ago. But, coincidentally of course, Dolan picked Sunday to invite Sprewell back to a game at MSG and bury the hatchet.
Latrell Sprewell is here at MSG, sitting next to owner James Dolan.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 12, 2017
Latrell Sprewell gets a nice hand from the MSG crowd as the arena plays the theme from "Welcome Back Kotter" overhead.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 12, 2017
From the sound of it, Dolan has decided to surround himself with former Knicks in the wake of the Charles Oakley incident.
What a total coincidence Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson, Bernard King and Bill Bradley are here.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) February 12, 2017
The Knicks traded Sprewell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2003, and Sprewell went off on Dolan and several other members of the franchise when he returned for the first time as a visiting player. Dolan publicly criticized Sprewell’s character after the trade, which did not sit well with Latrell.
“His comments pretty much prove that he had something to do with the trade,” Sprewell said at the time.
He was then asked if he is bitter toward Dolan because of it.
“Yes. Well … I won’t go into it, but yes,” Sprewell added.
Sprewell being invited back to the Garden on Sunday is not a surprise. Fans have been critical of Dolan for kicking Oakley out of last week’s game, as have current and former players. You can see videos from the incident here.
Sprewell was asked about the Oakley/Knicks feud and said he feels it is time to move forward.
On Oakley, Sprewell told ESPN's Israel Gutierrez it "disappointing" & "unfortunate" and that it was time to "iron it out" and "get past" it.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 12, 2017
Dolan has said Oakley is not banned from MSG for life and laid out what the 53-year-old will need to do in order to be invited back. Because the team has been so bad recently, fans were quick to side with Oakley. Dolan is hoping he can parade other fan favorites around to help the situation.
Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks owner James Dolan conducted a radio interview on Friday to address many of the topics that were part of the fallout from a highly-publicized incident that resulted in the arrest of former team forward Charles Oakley on Wednesday night.
During his interview with “The Michael Kay Show” on YES, Dolan confirmed that Oakley has been banned from MSG, but the ban is only temporary.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban. The most important thing is we need to keep the Garden a place that is comfortable and safe,” Dolan said on ESPN radio. “Anyone that comes to the Garden, too much alcohol, is looking for a fight and being abusive is going to get banned.
“Hopefully, it won’t be forever.”
Dolan laid out what Oakley must do in order to get back in good standing with the Knicks, which would lead to him being honored by the franchise and allowed back in Madison Square Garden.
“There’s nothing that would make me happier,” Dolan said of lifting the ban. All we need is for Charles to address these behaviors. He was a great Knick. He should be up there and being recognized, but this behavior … until he fixes that, it won’t happen.”
So there it is: Dolan confirmed that Oakley is temporarily banned from MSG because of his conduct, which included assaulting security guards. Oakley believes that he was set up by security.
In the interview, Dolan also addressed his status as a disliked owner and used the difficult New York market as his defense.
Dolan on fans hating him: "You'd be hard-pressed to find a living owner (of a New York sports team) that's loved."
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 10, 2017
Dolan said he stays out of basketball affairs and lets team president Phil Jackson do his thing. When asked about the poor performance of the team, Dolan deflected blame and told fans to direct their anger towards Jackson.
Dolan’s interview on Friday will do little to change the opinion of fans, who have sided with Oakley, who remains a beloved figure in New York. Oakley has also had the support of many famous people, as evidenced here.
Knicks owner James Dolan recently found himself in the news because of an unpleasant email he sent to a long time fan of the team in which he told a man to root for the Nets. Not surprisingly, as word of his interaction with the fan spread, the response to it was met with widespread criticism.
While Dolan hasn’t issued an apology for the email, he has attempted to put the situation behind him and move forward. Despite trying, the inappropriate email came up at an event during NBA’s All-Star weekend, as the subject of a joke.
During the NBA Legends Brunch, TNT’s Ernie Johnson drew a laugh from the audience by saying, “I just got the craziest email from Jim Dolan” as he reached into his coat pocket, according to the New York Post.
Eventually, this will blow over and be old news. For now, it’s still fresh enough in the minds of people that James Dolan may find himself the subject of jokes for the time being. Unfortunately, his team has received similar treatment over the last decade or so.
- James Dolan
Oakley, regarded as the heart and soul of the Knicks during his 10-year run in New York, was at Times Square Knickerbocker Hotel Wednesday for a press conference for Zipway (a company belonging to his former teammate John Starks). During his time with the media, Oakley talked about his relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan.
Oakley told the media that Dolan ignored him when they were introduced at the NBA All-Star game last year. Oakley even went as far as asking commissioner Adam Silver to set up a meeting with Dolan.
“I asked the commissioner to set up a meeting with (Dolan), take a step forward,” Oakley said via Christian Red of the New York Daily News. “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.”
Why might Dolan be upset with Oakley?
“He said (that) I said something in the paper 15 years ago,” Oakley told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton. “I even asked the commissioner to set up a meeting. I said we’ll get all the articles. I said, ‘What have I said?’ … I’ll come on the air and clear it up.”
This is not the first time we have heard Oakley complain about his relationship with his former team; in 2012, he whined about being unable to get a job with the franchise.
There are two sides to every story, so we would be curious to hear Dolan’s reasoning. Regardless, this is a bad look for Dolan, who is already in one mess this week after berating a long-time fan via email. Plus, fans are steaming over the Knicks’ league-worst 10-43 record this season. After this mess, there might be a lot of cheap tickets on StubHub for Oakley, or anyone else, to buy.
A Knicks fan of over 60 years probably wasn’t expecting a response when he fired off an email to team owner James Dolan imploring him to sell off the franchise. While the desired result was not achieved, Dolan perfectly illustrated Irving Bierman’s complaints in his angry missive.
Besides the Isiah Thomas debacle, the elder Bierman cited the lowball offer to head coaching candidate Steve Kerr as the latest in a string of Dolan’s “utterly STUPID business things with the franchise.”
Subject: I have been a knicks fan since 1952
At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from your dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Bringing on Phil Jackson was a positive beginning, but lowballing Steve Kerr was a DISGRACE to the knicks. The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise.
As a knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks. Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction Obviously, money IS NOT THE ONLY THING. You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.
[Aaron Bierman’s dad]
And now for Dolan’s reply, which Knicks PR staffers are likely wishing they had a chance to nix before it was ever sent.
You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.
Typos aside, it’s pretty bizarre that Dolan questions why anyone would write a hateful letter and then proceeds to demean Bierman over his next six sentences. But it’s not like this is the first time we have seen an executive castigate a fan recently.
Will Dolan’s insults be enough to chase this lifelong fan away? Not so, according to ESPN New York’s Ian Begley. Those fans are loyal!