NBA: Commissioner and Jordan step in to defuse Oakley row

Wearing a Charles Oakley jersey director Spike Lee reacts during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden.
Wearing a Charles Oakley jersey director Spike Lee reacts during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden.PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

(REUTERS) - NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan tried to ease the tension between New York Knicks owner James Dolan and former player Charles Oakley during a conference call on Monday, the league said in a statement.

Dolan and Oakley have been estranged for some time but their relationship hit a nadir when Oakley was forcibly removed from a Knicks game after an altercation with security guards and subsequently arrested on Wednesday.

As a result, Dolan announced that Oakley, who played the bulk of his career in New York but had been publicly critical of the Knicks owner, was barred from Madison Square Garden.

"It is beyond disheartening to see situations involving members of the NBA family like the one that occurred at Madison Square Garden this past week," Silver said in a statement.

"In an effort to find a path forward, New York Knicks owner James Dolan, Charles Oakley, and I met today at the league office, along with Michael Jordan, who participated by phone.

"Both Mr Oakley and Mr Dolan were apologetic about the incident and subsequent comments, and their negative impact on the Knicks organization and the NBA.

"Mr Dolan expressed his hope that Mr Oakley would return to MSG as his guest in the near future. I appreciate the efforts of Mr Dolan, Mr Oakley and Mr Jordan to work towards a resolution of this matter."

Charlotte Hornets owner and Hall of Famer Jordan was a team-mate of 53-year-old Oakley at the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards and the pair are close friends.