Charles Oakley would rather sell his soul than allow the New York Knicks to give him a jersey retirement inside Madison Square Garden.
Oakley has been banned from the Meccah of basketball by owner Jim Dolan for over 4 years now. This is a result of an in-stadium fight between Oakley and a Knicks fan in early 2017.
Dolan has been using that incident as an excuse to exclude Oakley from his establishment. It is widely believed that Dolan does it because he doesn’t like being criticized by the Knicks legend. He has a different explanation for it, however:
I don’t know if this is already public knowledge, but Michael Rapaport just told Howard Stern that the Knicks took away his courtside seats after Rapaport defended Charles Oakley in Oakley’s feud against James Dolan and made fun of Dolan for “looking like a hobbit.”
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) April 5, 2021
“We need to keep the Garden safe for anybody who goes there. I understand that he was a big star, but that doesn’t excuse people from that type of behavior.”
Charles Oakley says he doesn’t want the Knicks to profit off his jersey retirement
Oakley opened up about the incident in a recent interview with The Athletic’s Knicks beat writer Rustin Dodd
“I take that (treatment by Jim Dolan) to heart,” he said. “I’d rather for it to be on the outside than the inside, because I wasn’t welcome inside.”
“They came to me and said they were going to retire my jersey, do this and do that. And I’m like, ‘Nah, you can’t buy me that easy. If you retire the jersey, that benefit you, that ain’t benefitting me.’
“It was a tipping point for the Knicks.”
Charles Oakley once owned the Garden. And then he got thrown out.https://t.co/4QY9qy4UEO
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) April 6, 2021
“If you want to put it outside with the flag, and people don’t have to pay to come in and see it … let them drive past and see it. Let it be a tourist spot.”