Charles Oakley Says He'd Rather Go to Jail Than Get Help from NBA

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2017

Former New York Knicks player Charles Oakley exchanges words with a security guard during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the LA Clippers Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley isn't interested in getting help from the NBA.

"I told them I'd rather go to jail than them saying they did something for me," he said in a Thursday interview with Sports Illustrated (h/t Ian Begley of ESPN.com). "That's how bad this is for me. I'd rather go to jail."

Oakley was removed by security from Madison Square Garden on Feb. 8 during the Knicks' game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Begley noted Oakley was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges and subsequently banned from MSG by team owner James Dolan.

However, Begley pointed out the ban was lifted Monday following a meeting between Dolan, Oakley, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan.

Despite the removal of the ban, Begley wrote that Oakley told ESPN he had no interest in attending a Knicks game as a guest of the team.

Oakley took particular issue with Dolan suggesting he has a drinking problem, via Begley: "My life is going to change a lot because it's just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder. It's something on my record. If you Google my name, it's going to come up. And that hurts."

The Knicks released a statement in the near aftermath of the incident that ended "we hope he gets some help soon" when discussing Oakley:

Oakley also said, "No, some things can't be solved," when asked by Maggie Gray of Sports Illustrated if there is a potential resolution in the future with the Knicks.

This isn't the first time Oakley has taken umbrage with the organization he played for from 1988 to 1998. Chris Mannix of The Vertical said he has "a complicated, often contemptuous relationship" with the team and rarely attended games at Madison Square Garden before the incident.

Frank Isola, Kerry Burke, Stefan Bondy and Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News also pointed to a "contentious history" between Oakley and Dolan and said the former has not been invited to tributes for former players in the past.