Charles Oakley reveals which Knicks blunder made LeBron James tell him, ‘This is why I’m never going to New York’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

LeBron James is the face of the Los Angeles Lakers, but there was a time when fans and experts alike thought that he was headed to New York to join the Knicks.

The reasons behind James’ reluctance to join the Knicks have been the subject of rumors in the past, but Knicks legend Charles Oakley has apparently put an end to the speculation.

In his recently released book The Last Enforcer, Oakley divulged the reason why James has never signed with the Knicks. During All-Star Weekend in 2014, Oakley was introduced to Knicks owner James Dolan, who apparently refused to look up at the former All-Star and shake his hand. Oakley relayed the incident to James, who had a succinct reply.

“You would have thought I did something to his wife,” Oakley wrote. “S—, 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 motherf—– (Dolan) wouldn’t shake my hand,'” Oakley continued. “All LeBron said was: ‘This is why I’m never going to New York.'”

Anyone who has followed the NBA in recent years knows all about the Knicks’ mercurial owner. He seems to have a love-hate relationship with many of the Knicks’ biggest stars, their fans and even the team itself.

Many fans who support the Knicks have been calling for Dolan to sell the team for years. Learning that he serves as the prime reason why James has never joined the team will likely only fuel those flames.

Ultimately, this is just one account from someone who has a well-noted confrontational relationship with Dolan. For that reason, this story should come with a grain of salt.

However, based on what fans know about Dolan, it is entirely believable that James has wanted to stay as far away from the Knicks as possible during his incredible NBA career.

As for Oakley, he was once banned from Madison Square Garden after an altercation that occurred in 2017. Although he is allowed to re-enter the arena, he has yet to do so.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.