(CBS/AP) The talk of the NBA of late has been Charles Oakley, a former Bull and Knick, being forcefully removed and arrested after a scuffle with security at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night during a game between the Knicks and Clippers.
On Thursday morning, former Oakley teammate and close friend Greg Anthony weighed in on the situation on 670 The Score, saying Oakley is “as loyal as the day is long” and that he’ll “give you the shirt off his back.” And with Oakley, you also always know this: Don’t cross him.
“Charles is the type of person who doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do, particularly if he feels he’s being wronged or slighted,” said Anthony, now an analyst for CBS Sports. “And he’s not the kind of guy I would want to get on his bad side, I can tell you firsthand.
“He’s a great guy, a great teammates and a great friend, but he’s not a guy you want to cross or you want to him feel you’ve slighted him.”
The incident Wednesday originated near team owner James Dolan, whom Oakley has a contentious relationship with and was reportedly exchanging words with. Oakley had a ticket to his seat and took issue with being asked to leave.
Oakley, 53, shoved several security guards before a large group of them escorted him out, and he was later charged with three counts of assault and was process for a desk appearance, the NYPD said.
Oakley has denied wrongdoing, but the Knicks on Thursday called his version of the events “pure fiction” and were strong in condemning his “abusive” behavior toward others.
“With Charles, you better have a good rationale for asking him to do something,” Anthony said.
Then Anthony offered up another serious belief, saying Oakley would defeat any current NBA player in a scuffle or fight.
“I don’t think you have anybody who could make it close that plays basketball,” Anthony said.
“One of the fiercest guys you’ll ever run across is Lawrence Taylor, and Lawrence will tell you, Lawrence said, ‘Look, that’s one guy I’m going to think about doing anything with.’ And Lawrence Taylor is as tough of a guy as you’re going to run across. Charles is the kind of guy who’s going to probably have to go to the death. He’s a whole different level when it comes to those types of things.
“I’m taking Charles versus the field.”
Bulls guard Dwyane Wade and Clippers guard Chris Paul were among those who have criticized the Knicks for their handling of Oakley at the game.
“Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won’t be this picture,” Wade wrote on Instagram. “It will be the imagine of him being taken down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!!”
On Wednesday night, the Knicks initially released a strong statement regarding Oakley’s behavior.
“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner,” the Knicks wrote in a statement on Twitter. “He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.”