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LeBron James Told Charles Oakley That James Dolan Was The Reason He Would Never Join The New York Knicks

LeBron James Told Charles Oakley That James Dolan Was The Reason He Would Never Join The New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have made it to the playoffs just once since the start of the 2013-14 season. The franchise has struggled greatly in that time, a large part of the blame falling on owner James Dolan. Dolan has antagonized legends as well as fans of the Knicks, and his behavior has rubbed several NBA personalities the wrong way. 

New York is a tremendous market, and the Madison Square Garden is one of the most hallowed arenas in basketball. Despite this, Dolan's reputation has often led to very few of the big-name free agents they have coveted not ending up with the Knicks. This is best exemplified by the time at which LeBron James himself named Dolan as the reason he would never play for the franchise. 

In his book The Last Enforcer, Charles Oakley spoke about the time he was introduced to Dolan during the 2014 All-Star weekend. According to Oakley, thanks to his criticism of the Knicks during Dolan's reign, the Knicks owner didn't even look at him or shake his hand when the two were introduced. This led to the key comment from King James, who was also present, which so exemplifies the Knicks in recent times (via CBS Sports).

"You would have thought I did something to his wife," Oakley wrote. "Sh--, Latrell Sprewell, who played five seasons with the Knicks, cursed at Dolan in front of Dolan's wife when he returned to face the Knicks back in 2003, and they still became friends. I didn't do anything to this man. What did I ever say that was so bad that he would ignore me like that? I wondered. Man, I wanted to hit him in the head.

"I walked back to LeBron and said, 'This mother---er (Dolan) wouldn't shake my hand,'" Oakley continued. "All LeBron said was: 'This is why I'm never going to New York.'"

In 2017, Charles Oakley was removed from MSG for allegedly yelling at James Dolan, and then arrested, in an incident that angered many across the NBA. The Knicks tried to chase Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving before they join the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 but unsurprisingly, the duo chose against joining the franchise. The Knicks did manage to make the playoffs as the 4th seed in the 2020-21 playoffs but are currently outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference as the 11th seed.