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Report: Knicks Lift Oakley's Madison Square Garden Ban

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Well, that didn't take long.

Thanks in part to a sit-down with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and legend Michael Jordan, the dispute between Knicks great Charles Oakley and team owner James Dolan appears to have taken a turn.

According to a report on the website The Undefeated, the Madison Square Garden ban on Oakley was lifted Tuesday.

However, that doesn't mean all is forgiven.

Oakley told ESPN's "Dan Le Betard Show" on Tuesday he's not ready to simply let bygones be bygones, not yet anyway.

"Right now, no. I told him (Monday)," Oakley said. "I want to have a press conference, and I want him to apologize to me and the fans. They've had my back, and they've felt the pain. I really appreciate the people all around who've had my back."

Oakley said he wants the apology for many things, including how Dolan depicted him in an interview.

"He has a problem with anger. He's both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol. We don't know," Dolan said.

As CBS2's Steve Overmyer explained, Oakley said he is not an alcoholic, but volunteers to council alcoholics at a rehab center in Florida. The NYPD did not charge Oakley with public intoxication.

Because of comments like that, Oakley said  he has no immediate plans on taking the knicks up on their offer to welcome him back to the Garden.

"That hurt my character more than the 10 guys who jumped up on me. I can take the hit, but when you see stuff keep coming up on TV saying 'you got a problem, you got issues' stuff like that. I ain't that person if you look at my history," he said.

The Garden didn't immediately offer comment.

Oakley was forcibly removed from the Garden during the Knicks' game last Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers and was later arrested. He was accused of behaving in an "abusive manner" toward Dolan, a charge the former power forward denied. He was charged by police with three counts of assault and trespassing.

Oakley and Dolan seemed to have had a meeting of the minds during a visit with Silver at the NBA offices in New York on Monday. Jordan, a former teammate of Oakley's during their time together with the Chicago Bulls, joined the conversation via telephone.

"Both Mr. Oakley and Mr. Dolan were apologetic about the incident and subsequent comments, and their negative impact on the Knicks organization and the NBA," Silver said in a statement on Monday. "Mr. Dolan expressed his hope that Mr. Oakley would return to MSG as his guest in the near future."

The incident was the latest sad chapter in what has been an ugly season for the Knicks.

New York has lost 20 of its last 27 games to all but fall out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. On top of that, it has been dealing in recent weeks with a rift between star player Carmelo Anthony and team president Phil Jackson. Then came the Oakley incident, which basically made everyone forget about all the other nonsense that has plagued the franchise, at least temporarily.

Oakley has been critical of Dolan in the past over how he has run the Knicks, and that history apparently played a role in last Wednesday's confrontation at the Garden.

The decision to ban Oakley was met with anger by Knicks fans, who have been losing patience with the team's ineptitude for years. Oakley suited up for the Knicks from 1988-98 and helped them reach the NBA Finals in 1994. Lauded for his hard-nosed style of play, Oakley is among the most popular players in franchise history.

Dolan appeared to try to get the court of public opinion on his side when he invited former Knick Latrell Sprewell, who also had a falling out with the Garden, to the Knicks' game against San Antonio on Sunday. However, many viewed the move more as a ploy and questioned the owner's motives.

The Knicks don't play again at the Garden until Feb. 25 against Philadelphia. Whether Oakley returns that night or in the future remains to be seen.

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