Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley is facing assault charges after he allegedly attacked three security guards at Madison Square Garden following an incident with team owner James Dolan.
Oakley is accused of shoving and punching the men while they attempted to forcibly remove him from his seat during the first quarter of the Knicks’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
That measure was taken after Oakley spent the opening minutes of the game loudly heckling Dolan.
The melee drew the attention of the players on the court and the crowd, and soon began to chant ‘Oakley! Oakley!’ in support of the power player.
‘F*** that, let me go,’ said Oakley in video shot as he was being removed from the arena.
‘I didn’t do nothing … this is bulls***.’
Tennis great John McEnroe, a man infamous for his on court temper tantrums, could be seen trying to calm Oakley down while he was being taken out of the arena.
Others in attendance on Wednesday night included Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, Jason Biggs and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
‘On Wednesday February 8, 2017 at approximately 2030 hours, inside of 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Madison Square Garden), a 54 year-old male was taken into custody after he assaulted 3 males employed by MSG,’ said the NYPD in a statement.
‘The preliminary investigation determined that the 54-year-old male was causing a disturbance and was asked to leave.
‘The male refused to leave and punched 3 male employees as he was escorted out. The employees suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention at the scene. The male was subsequently taken into custody.’
He has been charged with three counts of assault in the third degree and one count of criminal trespass in the third degree.
The Knicks addressed the incident shortly after Oakley was escorted out of the arena on Wednesday evening.
‘Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner,’ the team wrote in a statement which they later released on Twitter.
‘He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.’
The altercation took place just a few rows behind the court during a stoppage in play as Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was shooting free throws.
Security was called to Oakley’s seat after he was shouting at Dolan and made a number of comments that allegedly upset the owner, who was sitting in front of him in his usual courtside seat.
Oakley was handcuffed near an arena exit as he waited for police to arrive, while McEnroe stood just behind him trying to keep him calm.
Fans could be heard telling Oakley ‘it’s not worth it’ as he lashed out at the security guards who tried to control him and get him out of the arena without incident.
At one point Oakley looked over at one individual and plainly said: ‘It is worth it.’
That is when he began to scream about how the entire incident was ‘bulls***’ and asked what he did that caused this response.
In an interview after his arrest, Oakley said: ‘What happened, me and four friends went to the game tonight to watch the Knicks and the Clippers. Get there, sit down, try 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 cause someone ordered you to leave. And I was like I’ve been here for four-and-a-half minutes, I’m a Knicks fan, I played here for 10 years. I love the Knicks, I love New York. I want to know why I’m not welcome into the Garden.
‘Phil came in the back, Spike Lee came in the back. Phil was like, what happened. I said Phil, I came in here four-and-a-half minutes go, what could I do in four-and-half minutes.
‘Things happen. I’m a grown man. I can fight my battles. I’m a guy who tells the truth, I don’t have to lie about nothing. I’m an honest guy.’
He received a desk appearance ticket and declined his right to legal representation at the station.
It was also later revealed that Oakley did not buy his own ticket, and that someone else had purchased it for him.
The incident made headlines around the world and ‘Oakley’ was a trending topic on social media.
Almost everyone who commented seemed to be on his side as well, supporting his tirade against Dolan, who has over the years become despised by many Knicks fans.
Oakley was also getting support from his NBA colleagues on social media.
LeBron James posted an image of Oakley on Instagram under the caption: ‘Mood!’ and the word ‘Legend.’