James Dolan ordered Charles Oakley’s ugly ejection from Madison Square Garden last year and then gave a “thumbs up” after the fracas, court papers argue, citing new arena footage.
The clip, which was submitted by Dolan’s defense team in connection with Oakley’s Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit, was obtained by the Daily News. As Oakley has claimed and the video confirms, he never got up from his seat before being confronted by security.
Mills said Dolan simply told him to hire who was best for the organization.
“He told me from the beginning that he was going to give me the room, just like he gave Phil the room to build the basketball team,” Mills said. “He was not involved with our day-to-day stuff. Obviously, it’s a big decision we have to make. We’re going to tell him this is what we think we’re doing. This is the financial implications.
“This is how it fits against what we laid out as our plan. He didn’t tell me who to hire. He said hire somebody you feel good about and is going to buy into what you think we need to do as an organization.”
Say what you will about Knicks owner James Dolan, but he has not shied away from giving African-Americans the keys to his basketball kingdom. Eleven years ago, three African-Americans — Mills, Isiah Thomas and Anucha Browne Sanders — occupied Madison Square Garden’s executive suite. That arrangement ended in disaster. Browne Sanders was fired, then sued Thomas and the Garden for sexual harassment.
Today, Fizdale works with a leadership team in which Mills, the executive president of the Knicks; Perry, the Knicks’ general manager; and Craig Robinson, the vice president of player development and G League operations, are African-American. The subject wasn’t raised Tuesday, but they all know everyone is watching.
“When the commissioner sees the tape, it’s going to be trouble for the NBA,” he said Tuesday at the BTIG charity event in midtown Manhattan. “The tape looked bad. It looked bad. Like I said from the get-go it’s all a lie.”
Oakley said the tape, which he saw for the first time two weeks ago, was sent to him by the Garden and shows him sitting in his seat the whole time.
“Hopefully we’ll know something in a month; we got to write a letter to the judge,” he said. “You watch the tape, from what I see, fans will see sooner or later too, because it’s embarrassing.”
According to a source, Dolan last season sent an email to Hornacek saying he was disappointed in him for not buying fully into the triangle offense. This took place sometime around the All Star break. So we know that as recently as last season Dolan, who loves to tell you he’s not involved, was actually pushing Phil Jackson’s offense down Hornacek’s throat in a not-so-subtle way.