Donald Sterling owned the Clippers from 1981 to 2014. (Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)
Charles Oakley may be allowed inside Madison Square Garden again, but the popular former New York Knicks player is not backing down in his criticism of team owner James Dolan.
In an interview with SI Now on Thursday, Oakley compared Dolan to the largely disliked former Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
“He’s a control freak,” Oakley said of Dolan. “He got everybody in the Garden on pins and needles. The other owners know this — that’s the bad thing about it. They’re gonna let this end up happening like something [that] happened to the L.A. Clippers. It’s that bad.”
Sterling owned the Clippers for more than 30 years before being banned from the NBA and fined $2.5 million after recordings of him making seemingly racist comments were made public in 2014. The team was sold to current owner Steve Balmer later that year.
Last week, Oakley was forcefully removed from his seat and arrested at a Knicks game and three days later Dolan banned the one-time all star from Madison Square Garden. Dolan went on to suggest that Oakley has problems with alcohol and/or anger.
Earlier this week, the ban was reportedly lifted after the two men met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver while talking to Michael Jordan on the phone. Silver said in a statement that both men had apologized, but Oakley later suggested that he’s not ready to move on from the incident just yet.
After bringing up the Clippers to SI Now, Oakley was asked if he thought Dolan is “on that same level as Donald Sterling.” Oakley answered, “Yes.”
Asked if he thinks Dolan is a racist, Oakley hesitated before saying, “I mean, he’s on the level.”
Oakley added of Dolan: “This man has been around for a long time. I ain’t heard nothing good about him.”