Free Political Prisoner Charles Oakley

NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: The Pros vs. Joes Experience with Charles Smith and Charles Oakley, formerly of the New York Knicks, at Madison Square Garden on January 23, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images for Spike TV)

Owner James Dolan is a fink who’s corroded the Knicks ever since taking the franchise’s reigns in 1999. During his tenure, the Knicks’ notable achievements include being the final resting place for Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis’s careers, letting Eddy Curry and Allan Houston rob them of millions of dollars, and convincing Carmelo Anthony to waste his best years on them. They’ve been innovating new nadirs for nearly twenty years, and for its latest stunt, the organization managed to get Charles Oakley arrested.

For the uninitiated, Oakley is the ’90s Knicks legend who held it down in the paint and would smack some sense into you for not acting right. He’s as beloved a Knick as any, but on Wednesday, he got dragged from the Garden by almost a dozen security guards after a brief altercation. (The guards were ordered to harass him, according to Oakley; the Knicks argued that he was antagonizing Dolan, who was sitting in front of him.) All of this went down on television, too, and was immortalized in clip after clip after clip. Oakley fought the good fight on the way out, though, finger doming a dude and allegedly yelling “all of you suck Dolan’s dick.”

And now it’s come to this: Dolan told New York sportscaster Michael Kay that Oakley has been permanently banned from Madison Square Garden. But instead of becoming a convincing scapegoat, Oakley has grown to symbolize a decayed franchise. Within two months, the Knicks have fallen from 13-10 and “WE’RE FOURTH IN THE CONFERENCE” to 22-32 and #FreeOakley.

Which brings us to the below clip of actor/director Michael Rapaport, where he gets the news of Oakley’s permanent ban. The known actor is so distraught—”GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?” he bellows, in a very New York accent—you wonder if he’s simply playing a caricature. But then, emboldened by this cultural crisis, Rapaport starts chanting “FREE OAKLEY” in the street to absolutely no one in particular. The gesture doesn’t make sense, but that’s what makes it so New York. Watch the clip below. And free the political prisoner Charles Oakley.


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