Former NBA player Charles Oakley and New York Knicks owner James Dolan will have to work out their longstanding beef over the phone, per a judge’s order.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an order for the two men to reconcile their past issues with one another via a phone call. The tension between the two men started in 2017 when Oakley was arrested and kicked out of Madison Square Garden after getting into an altercation with Garden security during the Knicks’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The incident was captured in a video that showed Oakley being forcibly removed from the arena.
Things got worse when Dolan banned Oakley from the arena and accused him of having an alcohol problem. “To me, Charles has got a problem. We’ve said it before; he’s his own worst problem. People have to understand that. He has a problem with anger. He’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol. But those problems with being physically and verbally abusive, those are problem,” Dolan said in an interview with Michael Kay. Oakley responded to Dolan’s claims during an interview with the New York Post’s Marc Berman. “Dolan might think because I go to volunteer at Rebound Institute treatment centers with [former NBA player Jayson Williams] that I’m a client. I’m just supporting the amazing work Jayson is doing. I’m not an alcoholic, but Jayson is,” said Oakley.
Oakley ended up firing back at Dolan with a lawsuit, accusing him of defamation as well as assault and false imprisonment. But a Manhattan judge tossed the lawsuit, saying that it is “from its inception, this case has had the feel of a public relations campaign, with parties seemingly more interested in the court of public opinion than the merits of their legal arguments.”
In turn, Oakley appealed the decision, and the Knicks released a statement afterward on behalf of Dolan. In the statement, the team wrote, “…Maybe now there can be peace between us.” The two men are scheduled to chop it up over the phone later this month on March 31.