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February 10, 2017

Charles Oakley banned from MSG, but 'hopefully not forever'

NBA Knciks

New York Knicks owner James Dolan is terrified of Charles Oakley. And I don't entirely blame him.

After all, the 53-year-old former enforcer has a history of slapping grown men much more intimidating than Dolan -- including Charles Barkley, whether the former Sixers wants to admit it or not -- and essentially spent the early part of his NBA career playing the role of Michael Jordan's bodyguard before spending the next decade in New York.

He -- much like the Knick fan base as a whole -- also despises Dolan.

Unfortunately, Oakley, who seems to be more in touch with the fans than the organization, won't be attending any New York Knicks home games in the foreseeable future after scaring the hell out of Dolan during Wednesday night's game against the Clippers.

Security was first called after Oakley, seated a few rows behind Dolan, was seen shouting at the Knicks owner. He then "shoved one security official in the face, though neither he nor any other arena staff threw any punches or pushed Oakley back." 

The former Knick was escorted from Madison Square Garden by an army of security guards and arrested following the altercation.

On Friday, the Knicks fired head of security Frank Benedetto in response. But that wasn't all. Dolan also said on ESPN Radio that Oakley won't even be allowed back in The Garden, let alone within a few rows of the owner.

Knicks owner James Dolan said Friday that Oakley will be banned from MSG until further notice, saying the franchise legend was being “abusive” and posed a security risk at the game Wednesday, when he was removed by arena security and later arrested.

“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban. The most important thing is we need to keep the Garden a place that is comfortable and safe,” Dolan said on ESPN radio.

“Anyone that comes to the Garden, too much alcohol, is looking for a fight and being abusive is going to get banned.

“Hopefully, it won’t be forever.”  []

Dolan said that Oakley would be welcomed back if he cleans up his act. 

On the heels of the Knicks' press release immediately following the incident in which the team said it hopes he gets "the help he needs," Dolan and Co. appear to be suggesting that Oakley has a drinking problem, something he took offense to on Friday while on "Mike and Mike" on ESPN Radio.

He also delivered an early contender for sports quote of the year.

“I probably will go around to a sports bar and drink some," he said when asked about his plans for Friday night's game. "They say I’m an alcoholic, so I might have to start drinking some wine — wine’s not alcohol."

Let's wind that back.

[Be right back; running out to get that framed.]

Oakley, who admitted to having "a few drinks" -- presumably not wine -- prior to Wednesday's game, has said he'll continue to root for the Knicks.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin