Spike Lee was in the Garden hallway where Charles Oakley was arrested last week, and said there were tears in his eyes watching his friend get taken to jail.
Four days later, Lee showed up in a #34 Oakley jersey, courtesy of a skilled stitch artist.
“I went home (after Oakley was ejected), I got every jersey, game-worn, but I couldn’t find an Oakley jersey,” Lee said. “But I had three Landry Fields jerseys. So I took it to my guy, and he hooked it up. So officially, this is a Landry Fields jersey.”
Still, a statement was made on a day the Knicks brought back several alumni – including Latrell Sprewell for the first time since his retirement – in a move that seemed like an attempt to stick it to Oakley. A Knicks spokesman told reporters that he was in touch with Sprewell for a while about coming the Garden, but the other players – including Larry Johnson and Bernard King – showed up to demonstrate the franchise takes care of its former players.
“I’m not mad at any of the Knicks that showed up today,” Lee said. “I stood up for everybody, gave them love. Applauded. I stood up for everybody. So I’m happy to see them. Under better conditions, yes. But I’m happy to see them regardless. But it just looks so obvious to me. …I don’t know, you got to ask the Garden. I’m just happy to see these guys. I know all of them.”
Lee would like the Knicks and Oakley to reconcile, but acknowledged he’s not the right person to broker such a meeting.
“There’s only two people who can do that: (Michael Jordan) and the Commissioner (Adam Silver),” Lee said.
Like many people, Lee had a big problem with Dolan accusing Oakley of having a problem with alcohol. Lee said he went out to lunch with Oakley and advised him to lay low.
“My wife went to UVA law school. She told me that’s defamation, potential defamation of character,” Lee said. “And UVA is one of the best law schools. She told me that. I mean, how can you say somebody is an alcoholic? You just can’t, in my opinion. And even if the person was, why would you say that? I don’t know why you would say that. All I can do is wear my jersey.”