NEW UNSEEN VIDEO CHARLES OAKLEY BEFORE PUNCH, THEY ASSAULTED HIM FIRST.
(READ NBA PLAYER CALLS OAKLEY A BULLY BELOW)
Clearly Charles Oakley was pushed down, before Oak assault the guards. And Remember a Guard was Fired By Dolan the next Day. WHAT STEPHEN A. SMITH DON'T UNDERSTAND AND MAYBE NOT OAKLEY. CHARLES OAKLEY CAN SUE THE GARDEN, FOR ASSAULT, AND SLANDER!. I WONDER IF THEY MADE OAKLEY SIGN SOME PAPERS SAYING HE WOULD NOT SUE…WHEN THE BAN WAS LIFTED? ((((((((New York Post))))))) (former NBA player calls Oakley a Bully)
NEW ORLEANS — Mike James, a former NBA point guard, grew up in Long Island in the 1990s a big fan of the Knicks and Charles Oakley.
"Everyone loved Oak,'' James said.
James was a supporter of Oakley's on the court — not off. Oakley is still at war with Knicks owner James Dolan after getting ejected and arrested eight days ago at Madison Square Garden following a scuffle with security.
Star players have come to Oakley's defense, but James has a contrasting takeaway. In New Orleans to accept the Bobby Jones Award from the Christian organization Athletes in Action, James told The Post he thinks Oakley needs to grow up in retirement and not act like the "bully'' he was as a player.
"When people allow who they were to get in the way who they're trying to be today … it's about growth,'' said James, who retired in 2014 after 13 NBA seasons, including a title with the Pistons. "So why not try to figure out a new way — not feel like you're losing your manhood — that you're gaining?
"That's the hardest thing for him,'' James added. "You lived as a bully your whole life. At some point, even the bully has to realize bullying isn't really that cool."
The Garden alleges Oakley cursed out staffers and security guards before he was approached to leave; Oakley says he merely reacted to being surrounded and threatened by security.
After his ban from the Garden was lifted Tuesday, Oakley remained on the offensive, demanding a public apology from Dolan for insinuating he's an alcoholic. On Thursday, after James spoke, Oakley compared Dolan to infamous former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was ousted for making racist comments on a leaked audio recording.
James said he's only encountered Oakley once off the court, and it was a bad experience. In 2006, while playing for the Timberwolves, James was part of a celebrity golf tournament in Minnesota.
"I was getting off the golf course and he was getting on it,'' said James, who now runs a hair products firm that specializes in wigs for cancer patients. "He said, 'Watch out. Get out of the way, Mike.' This is the first thing he says to me. Instead of saying, 'Hey, Mike, how you doing?' Instead it's, 'Watch out, boy.'"
James emphasized Oakley was a terrific teammate and veteran leader as a player, but would be better served if he changed his tough-guy persona in retirement, especially if he has eyes on landing a job with the Knicks.
"He was known for smacking cats in the face if they stepped out of line,'' James said. "If he said he was going to do something, he was going to do it. As an owner, if you have a big black man pointing a finger at you, I don't care who you are. He says he's going to do something — and has been known for doing something his whole career — what makes you think this situation is going to be any different?
"When you can be the baddest person and yet be the softest person, that's just about growing up and presenting a different type of person in a different type of way,'' James added.
Still a Knicks fan in retirement, James isn't happy with how his hometown team is playing. On a recent "Hard2 Guard Radio" podcast, the Amityville product said coach Jeff Hornacek should be fired.
"Without your teammates, you can't win,'' James told The Post. "I don't care how good everyone is individually, they don't know how to play collectively as a unit. They don't believe in each other. When you're hoping the player in front of you gets hurt so you can play, there's negative energy in the atmosphere. Too much negative energy in the atmosphere. Larry Brown always told us play the game the right way. Whatever differences you have with your teammates, don't bring it on the basketball court. Leave it off the court."