Oakley still hurt, seeks an apology from Dolan

NEW YORK • Charles Oakley sounds as if he is not quite ready to move on.

One day after he met New York Knicks owner James Dolan in an effort to end one of the more embarrassing episodes in the National Basketball Association franchise's history, he demanded on Tuesday that Dolan publicly apologise to him.

"I want to have a press conference and I want him to apologise to me and the fans," Oakley said of Dolan, adding that he still felt hurt. "There's a swimming pool full of water; it takes a while when you drain it."

Oakley, a fan favourite dating to his days as a rugged Knicks forward for much of the 1990s, made those comments in an interview with ESPN Radio in what amounted to Day 7 of a conflict that began on Feb 8 at Madison Square Garden.

Oakley, who has long been estranged from the organisation for being critical of Dolan, showed up at the Garden that night to watch the Knicks play the Los Angeles Clippers but ended up being taken away in handcuffs after an altercation with security guards.

Two days later, on ESPN Radio, Dolan alleged that Oakley needed help to address alcohol and anger-management issues, extraordinary accusations that Oakley has vehemently denied.

At the same time, Dolan said he was indefinitely barring Oakley from attending games at the Garden. Whatever the intentions, his initial actions backfired.

The ban, in addition to his statements essentially portraying Oakley as troubled, produced a firestorm of negative publicity for Dolan, who is already an unpopular figure among the team's fans.

Commissioner Adam Silver then got involved, arranging Monday's meeting, with Oakley and Dolan joining him at the NBA's headquarters.

Afterwards, he said in a statement that both had apologised for the events of last week and that Dolan hoped to welcome Oakley back to the Garden in the "near future". That seemed to imply that the ban had been lifted.

On Tuesday, Oakley pumped the brakes. Although he acknowledged that Dolan had apologised to him, he said that he was not so quick to forgive and that he would be unwilling, at least for now, to accept any invitation from Dolan to attend another Knicks game.

"Some things don't just walk away," he said in the interview. "We came to some kind of conclusion, an understanding, but this is going to hurt for a while."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'Oakley still hurt, seeks an apology from Dolan'. Print Edition | Subscribe