What happened Wednesday night at the Garden was poetic.
The bad ass ghost of Knicks Basketball Past stood up for diehard blue & orange fans everywhere, and let pathetic owner James Dolan know: “Enough is enough.”
Charles Oakley probably didn’t plan on being arrested at MSG Wednesday night. He may not have even planned to say anything to Dolan or any one of his goons (it’s still unclear if Oakley initially did anything to warrant being tossed from the building). But what transpired – Oakley being “threatened” by MSG security and then getting into a brawl with them – served as a metaphoric tipping point for the once-great franchise.
Fans at MSG chanted “Oakley!, Oakley!, Oakley!” as he was being dragged out of the arena. LeBron James and Spike Lee later offered their support for “Oak.” No one – of course – backed Dolan, even though Oakley was the one who turned violent.
“I was there for four minutes,” Oakley explained to the New York Daily News. “I didn’t say anything to [Dolan]. I swear on my mother. [Security] came over and wanted to know why I was sitting there. I bought the ticket. I said, why do you guys keep staring at me? Then they asked me to leave. And I said, I’m not leaving.”
The 53-year-old Oakley, who was the Knicks’ enforcer and a fan favorite during the franchise’s last run of title contention, punched three Garden employees as he was being escorted out of the building. All of the injuries to the employees were said to be minor, which is a minor miracle considering Oakley’s reputation.
Oakley was charged with three third-degree misdemeanor counts of assault and a third-degree misdemeanor of criminal trespassing. Oh to be a fly on the wall when MSG and Oakley’s reps have their day in court.
As for the state of the Knicks franchise, it’s never been more apparent that it’s time for Dolan to sell the team. A parade down the Canyon of Heroes would immediately take place, with Oak as the grand marshall, if Dolan was to sell.
Of course, that won’t happen.
So, the next best option is for the tone-deaf Dolan to clean house, yet again. It’s time to trade Carmelo for draft picks, and it’s time to fire Phil (who hilariously tried to calm the Oak storm in the player’s tunnel during the scuffle). It’s time to hire an executive who doesn’t have a big name like Phil (hunch: no one buys tickets because there’s a celebrity GM in place), and it’s time to make Kristaps Porzingis the clear face of the franchise. Keep Hornacek, let him do his own thing – and put young players around Porzingis. Maybe even try to get well under the cap.
Most important – be realistic. This team is not going to win the title this year, next year or the year after that. Build this thing up slowly, and stay out of the headlines for the next few years.
Wednesday night, the pot boiled over, and an old friend indirectly reminded Knicks fans (and hopefully Dolan) that the current state of the organization should not be tolerated. If you’re being real, it’s time to punch that reset button yet again. Oak more or less did it himself Wednesday.