Adam Silver, Michael Jordan step in to help repair James Dolan-Charles Oakley relationship

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he and Michael Jordanspoke with Charles Oakleyand Knicks owner James Dolan on Monday to help end the public dispute between Oakley, one of the franchise's most popular players, and Dolan.

Oakley and Dolan met with Silver on Monday at NBA headquarters, with Jordan participating by phone, the league said in a statement. It said both Dolan and Oakley apologized for the fallout from Oakley's arrest after an altercation with Madison Square Garden security guards during a Knicks game on Wednesday.

"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.

The statement says Dolan hopes Oakley can return to MSG as his guest in the near future.

Silver's statement also singled out Oakley, Dolan and Jordan's efforts for all coming together to "work towards a resolution of this matter."

Earlier Monday, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Ian Begley that there has been "some momentum toward a resolution" between Oakley and Dolan thanks to recent conversation between both sides.

It had been unclear until the NBA statement was issued whether Oakley and Dolan had talked directly since Oakley was forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden and subsequently arrested on Wednesday.

But it was clear there was a desire among people close to both parties to help repair the relationship between Oakley and Dolan, sources say.

Both the Knicks and Oakley's spokesperson, Akhtar Farzaie, declined comment when asked Monday afternoon about any potential resolution between the Knicks and Oakley.

After the NBA's announcement, Oakley's attorney, David Chesnoff, applauded Silver and Jordan for getting involved.

"We're gratified by the sincere interest that the commissioner took in this issue as well as Mr. Jordan and are glad that Charles and Mr. Dolan were able to sit down as grown-ups and worked their way through this."

Jordan's inclusion in the meeting was crucial for Oakley, sources say. Jordan and Oakley have a close bond, as evidenced by Phil Jackson's decision to call Jordan in the wake of Oakley's arrest to try to connect him with the former Knicks star, per sources.

After the arrest, Dolan announced that Oakley was banned indefinitely from the Knicks' home arena. Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of misdemeanor trespassing. Dolan said the organization ejected Oakley because he was being verbally abusive to security while seated near the team owner. Oakley denied this in recent interviews.

After the incident, Dolan also suggested in multiple media interviews that Oakley has a drinking problem, which Oakley denied on Saturday in an interview with the New York Post.

The Knicks and Dolan have received criticism for the decision to ban Oakley and the public suggestion that he has a drinking problem.

On Monday, the Rev. Al Sharpton called on Dolan to immediately lift the ban against Oakley. In a statement, Sharpton said that in the event the ban is not lifted, his National Action Network will organize a group to picket outside of Madison Square Garden.

ESPN's Ian Begley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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