Oak­ley is back in the build­ing

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTING LIFE -

NEW YORK — Charles Oak­ley is al­lowed back in Madi­son Square Gar­den.

The for­mer New York Knicks star’s ban from the arena has been lifted, a per­son briefed on the dis­cus­sions told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Tues­day.

MSG chair­man James Dolan banned Oak­ley last week, two days af­ter the for­mer power for­ward had an al­ter­ca­tion with se­cu­rity guards while at­tend­ing a game.

But the sides rec­on­ciled, helped by a meet­ing Mon­day at NBA head­quar­ters with Com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver and Hall of Famer Michael Jor­dan. Jor­dan and Oak­ley were team­mates in Chicago be­fore Oak­ley was traded to New York, where he be­came a fan favourite with the Knicks from 1988-98.

Dolan then de­cided Oak­ley is wel­come back at the arena, the per­son told the AP on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the dis­cus­sions were to re­main pri­vate. ESPN.com first re­ported the de­ci­sion.

The Knicks said they had noth­ing to add be­yond a state­ment Mon­day from Sil­ver, who said both sides were apolo­getic and thanked them for work­ing to­ward a res­o­lu­tion.

Oak­ley was a pop­u­lar player in New York but his re­la­tion­ship with Dolan be­came strained af­ter his crit­i­cisms of the team and its man­age­ment. The Knicks stopped pro­vid­ing him with com­pli­men­tary tick­ets and invit­ing him to team func­tions.

Oak­ley still at­tended a few games a year on his own, in­clud­ing last Wed­nes­day’s, when he was seated a few rows be­hind Dolan and was sur­rounded by se­cu­rity in the first quar­ter. He shoved a cou­ple of se­cu­rity of­fi­cials be­fore he was pulled away and hand­cuffed.

Dolan an­nounced the ban dur­ing an in­ter­view with ESPN Ra­dio on Fri­day, though he said he hoped to see Oak­ley re­turn some­day. Dolan said he be­lieved Oak­ley had anger or al­co­hol is­sues he first needed to ad­dress.

The Knicks are on the road this week for their only game be­fore the All-Star break. They don’t play at home again un­til Feb. 25.

Dolan wel­comed back an­other es­tranged for­mer Knick, La­trell Sprewell, on Sun­day for the team’s most re­cent game. Sprewell hadn’t been back at MSG since 2004 fol­low­ing his fall­ing out with the owner.

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