ACTIVE and retired NBA players led by LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Reggie Miller rose to the defense of Charles Oakley following the former New York Knicks legend’s arrest in an altercation early in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time).
Oakley’s removal and subsequent arrest at the Garden sparked outrage from current players and NBA legends due to the treatment the former Knicks forward got in his former home court.
The 53-year-old Oakley, a fan favorite who added toughness, defense and rebounding while playing in New York alongside Patrick Ewing in the 1990s, was forcibly removed by arena security after an altercation in the stands. He was later charged with three misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and another third-degree misdemeanor.
On Wednesday, the team released a statement blaming Oakley for what transpired, adding they ‘hope he gets help.’ The Knicks followed it up with another statement on Thursday describing the former player’s account of what happened as ‘pure fiction,’ after Oakley denied doing anything to provoke the altercation.
A handful of current and former NBA players reacted to the incident on social media, supporting Oakley.
Wade posted a photo of a young Oakley in a Knicks uniform on Instagram as a way of showing his support.
“Ten years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won’t be this picture. It will be the (image) of him being taken down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all as a player by the guards! This could happen to any of us!!! #StayWoke We are not above this treatment!” Wade wrote on the caption.
10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won't be this picture. It will be the imagine of him being taken down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!! #StayWoke We are not above this treatment!
A photo posted by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:02am PST
James also followed suit in doing a similar act by Wade, posting a photo of young Oakley in a Knicks jersey in his own way of supporting the vet.
A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 8, 2017 at 8:23pm PST
Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, took to Twitter to express his disgust on the Knicks statement.
“Hope that he gets some help soon? Not the right way to portray Oak… Always had my back and the realest person our league has seen,” Paul tweeted.
Hope that he gets some help soon? Not the right way to portray Oak...always had my back and the realest person our league has seen #UncleOak— Chris Paul (@CP3) February 9, 2017
Miller, a contemporary of Oakley, sent his support to his former opponent via Twitter and fired a warning to future free agents considering a move to New York.
“If true James Dolan hasn’t wanted (Oakley) around organization, DAMN SHAME. Oak sweared (heart) for Knicks.. Pacers respect ya brotha..”
If true James Dolan hasn't wanted @CharlesOakley34 around organization, DAMN SHAME. Oak sweated ? for Knicks.. Pacers respect ya brotha..— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) February 9, 2017
If you're a FA to be, why would you play for an Owner who treats the past greats like this or a President who stabs star player in the back?— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) February 9, 2017
Even one of the Knicks most popular fans, filmmaker Spike Lee, offered his support for the NBA legend.
Just Had A Great Lunch With My Brother Mr. Charles Oakley Of The Beloved Orange And Blue. Last Night At Da Garden Was Not A Good Look For All Involved. Last Thing Oak Said To Me Is "All I Want To Do Is Sit Down With Mr. Dolan, Man To Man And Work This Out". Once Knick Always A Knick?
A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:52am PST