Former Knicks Great Charles Oakley Arrested After Melee at Madison Square Garden
Knicks president Phil Jackson tried to break up the fight and calm Oakley down.
Former New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley was arrested and charged with three counts of assault following a melee inside Madison Square Garden as his former team played the Los Angeles Clippers.
The incident happened during the first quarter in the stands as Oakley sat near Knicks owner James Dolan Wednesday night.
ESPN cameras caught the action which involved Oakley standing up, yelling in someone’s face and getting involved in a pushing and shoving match. Tennis great John McEnroe was also nearby as the incident escalated.
Cameras for the MSG Network, which is owned by Dolan, did not capture the incident during their broadcast.
Knicks president Phil Jackson tried to break up the incident and calm Oakley down.
Reports say that the confrontation began as Oakley heckled Dolan, who has faced the wrath of Knicks fans for the team's lackluster performance in recent years.
The 54-year-old Oakley, known for his aggressive style of play when he was on the court, received support from fans, who chanted his name as he was escorted away and put in handcuffs.
Cops say Oakley punched three security guards — all of whom allegedly suffered minor injuries — as he was being escorted out.
He was charged with three misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and one count of third-degree criminal trespass.
He was given a March court appearance, according to ESPN.
The Knicks released a statement saying Oakley "behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner.” Adding: “he was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.”
Oakley’s lawyers deny the allegations, telling Inside Edition, "We will deal with this in court.”
Following his release Wednesday night, Oakley told ESPN: “What happened is me and four friends went to the game tonight, to watch the Knicks and Clippers. We did sit down, trying to have a good time. Next thing I know I was asked to leave the building. I asked, 'Why?' and they said, 'You have to leave because someone ordered you to leave.' And I'm like, 'I've been here four-and-a-half minutes.'”
He added: “I'm a Knicks fan, played here 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. I don't know why I'm not welcome into the Garden."
After the game, Clippers coach and former Knick Doc Rivers, who is friends with Oakley and played with him for two seasons, told reporters he wanted to jump in to help Oakley.
"That was tough for me to watch," Rivers said. "Honest to God, you could see it. I actually took three steps and I swear I was going to run down there, and I thought, 'What the hell am I going to do?' But I didn't like that. That's my guy. That was tough to watch from where I was standing."
Other NBA superstars began showing support for Oakley on social media.
LeBron James took to Instagram and called him a “legend.”
NBA icon Reggie Miller posted support on Twitter for Oakley, who was once a rival on the court.
If true James Dolan hasn't wanted @CharlesOakley34 around organization, DAMN SHAME. Oak sweated ❤ for Knicks.. Pacers respect ya brotha..February 9, 2017
Denver Nuggets star Wilson Chandler called Oakley a "triple O.G. (original gangster)."
Charles Oakley, triple OGFebruary 9, 2017
Knicks fan and news pundit Geraldo Rivera also offered his support to Oakley on Twitter.
If the great @CharlesOakley34 needs a lawyer, I volunteerFebruary 9, 2017
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