Former Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were among the NBA players – current and former – who spoke out in support of Charles Oakley after the Knicks legend was arrested for getting into a tussle with Madison Square Garden security Wednesday night.
Oakley, 53, was sitting a few rows behind team owner James Dolan, with whom he has contentious relationship. Oakley insists he was doing nothing wrong and was unjustly asked to leave his seat. Other accounts suggest he heckled Dolan and assaulted the security guards who asked him to move.
Oakley was escorted from the arena in handcuffs and charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault.
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Among those seated nearby was tennis legend John McEnroe, who can be seen on several videos of the altercation.
Wade responded on Instragram: “10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won’t be this picture. 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!!! #StayWoke We are not above this treatment!”
Oakley and the Knicks organization have not been on good terms for years. He is reportedly offended that he has not been invited to the team’s 70th anniversary celebrations and other team events involving former players.
The Knicks released these two statements about the Wednesday night arrest:
Chris Paul weighed in on the Knicks’ statements, tweeting: “Hope that he gets some help soon? Not the right way to portray Oak..always had my back and the realest person our league has seen.”
LeBron James posted a photo of Oakley on Instagram, calling him a legend. After the Cavaliers’ game Thursday night, he told reporters: “Charles Oakley for President.”
Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, a TNT analyst, tweeted a comment saying free agents should steer clear of the Knicks: “If you’re a FA to be, why would you play for an Owner who treats the past greats like this or a President who stabs star player in the back?”
Miller also tweeted that it would be a “DAMN SHAME” if Dolan doesn’t want Oakley around the organization.