While doing the media rounds for his new book, "The Last
Enforcer," Charles Oakley has been extremely vocal about his
feelings towards his former New York Knicks teammate Patrick
It has become abundantly clear that Oakley and Ewing are not
currently on good terms in any way shape or form. This appears
to have stemmed from the ugly Madison Square Garden incident of
2017 when Oakley was forcibly removed by security staff from a
Oakley has long been beloved by New Yorkers as a whole, while
Dolan has grown to be an incredibly unpopular figure among many
Knicks fans who blame him solely for much of the team's struggles
over the years.
This particular situation definitely didn’t help Dolan’s
popularity. In fact, during the incident, Knicks fans chanted
“Oakley! Oakley!” as he was being removed from the arena, so it was
clear as day as to who the fans were supporting.
To make matters worse, the Knicks released a statement that
said, “We hope [Oakley] gets some help soon," implying — without
basis — that Oakley had a problem with drugs, alcohol or some type
of mental issues. Dolan also subsequently banned the Knicks legend
from MSG indefinitely.
Since then, Oakley has expressed his disappointment that some of
his former teammates, namely Ewing, didn’t have his back the way he
felt they should’ve.
“My relationship with Patrick Ewing should be better," Oakley
told Fat Joe in February. "I played with him for 10 years in the
Garden. Fans saw how hard I played, had everybody’s back. When I
came to a situation and needed him, he didn’t come out to represent
me like he should have... He knows he hasn’t been fair to me, and I
was always fair to him."
“That happened in 2017, he just said something 5 months ago,"
Oakley said on The Rich Eisen Show. "I played with him 10 years,
had his back. They offered him a D League job about 7 yrs ago, I
said how are you gonna offer a guy who played with you 15 yrs a D
League job? That hurt me when he didn’t speak up for me."
While interviewing Ewing for The
Rematch, I asked him about Oakley and the chance of them
patching their brotherhood back together again. He was honest and
forthcoming about the fallout, the current status and the
possibility for reconciliation.
Etan Thomas: How are you with all of your
former Knicks teammates?
Patrick Ewing: "We all still talk, John
[Starks] and I talk a lot. He works for the Knicks. He came to our
game in the Garden. Herb Williams, we still communicate. Derek
Harper, we still communicate. Doc Rivers. Me and Oak, we were still
communicating; we’re not communicating right now, but Oak was one
of my best teammates. I respect everything he did on the court.
Greg Anthony. So a lot of us are still in communication. We’re all
doing our own things, but we’re friends, we’re comrades, and we did
a lot of great things together."
Etan: So, you mentioned Oak, and you said y’all
are not really communicating right now. It’s interesting, I
interviewed Oakley a few years ago, right after the thing with
Dolan happened in the Garden. So I interviewed him about it, and he
talked about it a lot. It was a really ugly scene, and I felt bad
for Oakley because that’s just not how you do a former New York
;egend and Knicks great when they come back to the Garden. I mean,
I’m no Washington Wizards great, but I go back to D.C. and they’re
not gonna do me like that. That’s just not how you treat former
So we did the interview and we’re talking, and he alluded to the
fact that some players didn’t support him the way he felt they
should have. He didn’t say that you were one of them, but he said
to me, 'I really only knew you one year,' because he played that
one year in D.C. And when I saw him in All-Star weekend in New
Orleans after it happened, I gave him a big hug. 'Are you alright,
do you need anything?' I thought that was messed up.
I went on a few shows and talked about it. I actually went on
Michael Rappaport’s show with Kenyon Martin and talked about how
they did Oakley wrong, and I think I wrote about it as well. And he
was like, 'Well, me and you, we only knew each other one year and
you was kind of quiet to be honest for most of the year.' I mean, I
had legends there so I was just watching and learning, but he said,
'Some of my other teammates that I’ve known for years and played
with and was in the trenches with and bled for, they didn’t really
come to back for me like I thought they should’ve.' And he keeps
saying it over and over again, and honestly, he sounded to me like
he was really hurt by it. And I don’t know if you were one of the
players in that category because he didn’t say you by name, but
thinking back on that incident, do you think you and the other guys
supported him as much as you all should’ve?
Ewing: "I can’t speak for others, all I know is
what I did. When I saw the incident, I picked up the phone and
called (Oak) and asked, 'Do you need anything?' I saw they took him
and cuffed him, so my first question was, 'Do you need me to have
someone come and bail you out? Whatever you need.' What else am I
supposed to do? I was asked about it by the media. I told them it
was wrong. Oak was an integral part of our team, and of the Knicks
fabric, and something like that should never happen. I don’t know
what else I was supposed to do.
"I’m still working in the NBA as an assistant coach (at the
time). I’m trying to work my way up the ladder to hopefully be a
head coach in the NBA. So I don’t know what else I was supposed to
say, or what else I was supposed to do. All I could do was give him
my support, let him know I was there for him and (do) anything that
he needed. When I was asked about it, I gave my honest feelings
that I thought it was wrong and that things like that cannot
happen. And I supported him. Anything else that he may have wanted
me to do... I guess I didn’t do enough to show him that I thought
about him as a friend more than just a former teammate, but I
Etan: You know, as somebody who watched you all
play your entire careers with New York, I personally hope that you
all get back together and are back on talking terms and do like a
public thing where y’all are together as brothers. Because, when I
tell you that I was a die-hard Knicks fan. Like after y’all would
lose a game, and I went to school, somebody better not say nothing
about the Knicks. That’s how seriously I took it. So even when you
just mentioned that you and Oakley aren’t really speaking now, that
was like a jab to me, like, 'Aww, it’s supposed to be like this
(pounds fist together),' like the Knicks vs.
Ewing: "Like I said before, he was one of my
best teammates. I used to call him 'The Hitman.' He was the
enforcer. Anything that happened on that floor, you always knew he
had your back. And I wanted to let him know that I had his back in
this situation. I supported him in every way I could. I talked to
Mr. Dolan myself about the situation. I know other people tried to
broker a peace as well, but I still respect Oak and always
Etan: Well, I’m gonna still hold out hope that
y’all get back together and reconcile.
Ewing: "Me too. Believe me, me too."
Etan: Okay, so that’s great to hear. So if
you’re holding out hope about it and it’s open, I’m confident that
it will happen when it’s supposed to happen in due time. Sometimes
brothers fight, sometimes brothers argue, sometimes brothers have
disagreements. And then, they come back together as brothers are
supposed to, so I’m holding out hope for that.
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