It’s still bizarre to think that Charles Oakley got thrown out of a Knicks game and arrested on Wednesday night. Oakley is a Knicks legend, and while that doesn’t justify his actions (if you believe the Knicks, of course), having him escorted from the building, handcuffed, and taken in by the authorities is absurd.
A number of people from around the NBA – from LeBron James to Chris Paul to Dwyane Wade – have come out in support of Oakley over the last day. On Thursday, Charles Barkley also came to Oakley’s defense … kind of. During NBA Tip-Off, Barkley said that everyone involved in the altercation was at fault.
“I thought that it made the Knicks look bad, it made Charles Oakley look bad, and it made the NBA look bad, plain and simple,” Barkley said. “There were no winners, we all are losers.
“This was a black eye for the entire sport, plain and simple,” Barkley said. “Like I said, everybody looks bad.”
Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith also weighed in on the ordeal and both were more sympathetic to Oakley than Barkley. Shaq said that he didn’t like how the situation was handled, namely the Knicks’ statement saying that Oakley “a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.” Smith, speaking as a native New Yorker, said he was disappointed because of what Oakley meant to the franchise, but also reprimanded Oakley for his actions. He also thought the security staff should have diffused the situation instead of causing things to escalate, and said that Oakley took the bait.
We’re still in the middle of a massive he said/he said between Oakley and the Knicks. Odds are the truth of what really happened will never fully come out (barring Michael Jordan getting the scoop), so for now, it’s good that we’re having debates on how everyone involved in this situation could do better.