It was a crazy night at the Garden Wednesday, that saw a Knick legend hauled out of the arena by security, handcuffed and taken to jail in front of a stunned star-studded crowd just a few feet from Garden chairman James Dolan.
Charles Oakley, known for his physical style of play that made him an All-Star and helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals in 1994, vehemently denied that he yelled at the Knick owner moments before being thrown out by several security guards.
Oakley told the Daily News moments after being released from Midtown South police station at around midnight that the Garden security asked him to leave because Dolan did not want him there.
“I was there for four minutes,” Oakley said late Wednesday night. “I didn’t say anything to him. I swear on my mother. They came over and wanted to know why I was sitting there. I bought the ticket. I said why do you guys keep staring at me. Then they asked me to leave. And I said I’m not leaving”
What followed next is the ugliest chapter yet in a rapidly deteriorating Knicks season, all on full display in front of a nationally televised audience and the league’s commissioner Adam Silver. Oakley was confronted by security, forcefully shoving one guard and appearing to strike another before he was physically removed from the stands.
However, sources at the Garden and police sources dispute Oakley’s account of the altercation, saying the scuffle was provoked by the former Knick yelling at his longtime nemesis Dolan.
Oakley was asked by several members of Garden security to leave, and then was seen shoving the swarming security guards – not far from tennis legend John McEnroe and with Dolan standing nearby in a maroon scarf.
Oakley was then escorted through the tunnel, taken to the floor by NYPD, and cuffed. According to police, Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault, one of criminal trespass. A source said that Oakley declined legal representation because he was only hit with a desk appearance ticket. He was released from the Midtown South precinct at around midnight by police and snuck out the back door and into a black SUV, avoiding the waiting press outside.