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Patrick Ewing is hopeful that he and Charles Oakley can reconcile 

Patrick Ewing is hopeful that he and Charles Oakley can reconcile 

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 Ewing.

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 Knicks game. 

The image of Oakley shoving a security guard prior being dragged away from his seat on live television stands as one of the ugliest moments the Knicks organization has ever seen. According to court papers, Oakley has since accused Knicks governor James Dolan of orchestrating an attack on him.

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. 

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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 players.

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 did."

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. everybody.

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 will."

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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