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Charles Oakley set for day in court in wake of MSG arrest

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Charles Oakley has been a beloved forward and a banned fan at Madison Square Garden.

But before Oakley, the former NBA enforcer and rebounding machine with the New York Knicks, can reconcile with his former team and return to the arena, he’s trying to beat the rap stemming from the altercation that led to his ejection and arrest in February at the Garden.

Oakley told The Associated Press he had no regrets over his behavior that night that led him getting handcuffed near an arena exit as he waited for police to arrive.

“I would have done everything just the same way,” Oakley said by phone. “I didn’t do nothing. I was only in the arena five minutes. I didn’t know you could get in that much trouble in five minutes. I’d take my chances and do the same thing again.”

Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass. He is accused of striking one security guard in the face with a closed fist, and when two other people tried to intervene, both were pushed and received cuts.

He is due in court Tuesday.

Oakley was set to travel to Chicago and attend Sunday’s service for former Bulls executive Jerry Krause and return to New York on Monday.

The 53-year-old Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988-98, helping them reach the NBA Finals, but has a splintered relationship with the team because of his criticism of owner James Dolan.

Dolan lifted Oakley’s ban from MSG shortly after meeting with Oakley and NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Oakley, known as candid, unfiltered and Michael Jordan’s de facto bodyguard, said nothing was really settled in the meeting.

So the looming question remains: What will it take to get Oakley back at MSG for a Knicks game?

“That’s the million dollar question. I don’t know,” Oakley said. “Right now, we’re trying to get closure. Why was there a ban? Why do I have three assault cases? I want to get all that settled. That’s the most important thing right now. It’s not about the ban or going to the Garden. It’s about going to the next step.”

Oakley said he was still unsure why the fracas went down at MSG. Oakley maintains he did nothing wrong before arena security approached him just a few rows behind Dolan. Oakley was no longer comped tickets or invited to official team functions, though he attended a few times a year when he bought his own tickets. He was there only a matter of minutes before the altercation that included him hitting one security guard in the face and shoving at least one other before he was dragged away and handcuffed.

“I hope we can come to an understanding, and get to the point of, `why?”‘ Oakley said.

Dolan later suggested on ESPN New York that the former player “has a problem with anger. He’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol. We don’t know.”

Oakley denied having anger or substance abuse issues.

“I’ve shown none of that stuff he’s talked about,” he said. “There’s nothing that can tell him I have any of the things that he’s talking about in my life. He’s said this three or four times to different people. It’s his way of trying to throw people under the bus .”

NBA stars and fans publicly supported the former tough guy enforcer, who instigated a few feuds and flagrant fouls in his prime. Knicks fans chanted “Free Charles Oakley!” Cavaliers star LeBron James quipped, “Charles Oakley for president.”

“Nobody had to go to bat for me. You think of all the people who went to bat for me, they know I’m a true gentleman guy at all times,” he said.

Oakley would rather stir the pot in the kitchen; his cooking has earned him a spot on Food Network’s “Chopped Tournament of Stars” and he said there are plans to soon release his own cookbook .

His specialty includes a sea bass with pineapple, asparagus, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

“I just want to get in the kitchen and do your favorite meal,” he said.

Oakley also wants to launch a clothing line next year, though he’s concerned his brush with notoriety could shut some doors in corporate America.

“It’s definitely going to punish me with some of the things I’ll probably try and do in the future,” Oakley said. “Some people don’t believe in luggage. They don’t like when there are things about you that are out there.”

Oakley has refused to keep a low profile since the MSG dustup. He mixed it up with another former bad boy, Dennis Rodman , over issues of rest; expressed his disappointment that former teammate Patrick Ewing failed to come to his defense (On Georgetown’s new coach: “Good luck to him. We’ll see how the ball bounces”) and signed on for a role as player/coach in the debut of the BIG 3 3-on-3 league backed by rapper Ice Cube.

He believed the same hard-nosed approached that served him well over a 19-year playing career, which included two stints with the Chicago Bulls, will serve him well in court.

“I’m not nervous. I believe in myself,” he said. “They said this, they said that. But 20,000 people were at the game. Millions of people saw what happened. There’s no reason for me to be nervous. If I’m wrong, I’ll take my punishment.”

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LeBron James once saved someone while snorkeling with Dwyane Wade

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LeBron James is one of those guys who seems like he can do it all. He’s been league champion, league MVP, and Finals MVP. He’s an international marketing icon. He’s the best basketball player of a generation.

Apparently, he can also save people from the water like a dang superhero.

The recent article published on Vogue about James and his wife Savannah, the author shared a story told to him by Gabrielle Union, actress and wife of Dwyane Wade.

As Union tells the story, during a snorkeling trip in the Bahamas, Lebron noticed one person wasn’t back in the boat at the end of the session.

He then leapt in to bring them back.

Via Vogue:

As I prepare to say goodbye, I am reminded of a story Gabrielle Union told me about LeBron. Union and her husband, Dwyane Wade, with other friends and athletes, were out snorkeling in the Bahamas a few years back. Some, including Wade, were ocean-shy, city-born and not as strong at swimming as LeBron. (“LeBron, it turns out, is Aquaman!” Union says.) Eventually, the group got out in the water, though at the end of the swim, when everyone was back in the boat, LeBron took a count and noticed a man missing, immediately diving back in. “He literally brings our friend back, like something out of an episode of Baywatch,” Union says. “Because he’s that guy, and when you see that, you know he is not going to leave these at-risk kids behind or an NBA player snorkeling. He’s that guy who dives in.”

Lebron James: that dude.

Watch the 10 best plays from Andrew Wiggins’ 2016-17 season (VIDEO)

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This upcoming season will be a huge test for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins.

After a couple years of steady improvement, it appeared that Wiggins started to level off in his third season. Yes, he increased his 3-point shooting percentage but dips in his free-throw rate and VORP were a tad disappointing considering his usage even as he contributed more points per-game. Many in Minnesota expected him to be a superstar, and now it’s possible he ends up simply as a perennial rotation guy.

Still, the new season for the Timberwolves should be pretty interesting as they have added new pieces to the roster, including former Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler.

The video above includes 10 of Wiggins’s best plays from the 2016-17 NBA season. Hopefully Wiggins will be able to build on this type of play as the roster around him and gets better and expectations rise.

Report: Clippers to offer GM job to Thunder assistant Michael Winger

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Doc Rivers no longer has the hammer on trades and player moves in Los Angeles, that has been wisely handed over to Lawrence Frank, the team’s new president of basketball operations. He has Jerry West as a consultant — who will have the owner’s ear — working with him.

Frank now has a new right-hand guy, one of the better respected, up-and-coming front office people in the league, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The LA Clippers have offered Oklahoma City Thunder executive Michael Winger its general manager’s job, league sources told ESPN. A deal could be finalized soon, league sources said…

Winger, 37, has spent the past seven years with Oklahoma City, working closely with Executive Vice President and GM Sam Presti.

ESPN’s Thunder reporter Royce Young chipped in with this.

This is a good hire by the Clippers, bringing a smart young executive from a well-respected organization into the fold to help energize their front office.

This past summer the Clippers lost Chris Paul (traded to Houston, because he was leaving as a free agent otherwise), locked up Blake Griffin long-term, and now have to decide on a future direction. DeAndre Jordan has a player option next summer, do the Clippers want to max him out or move another direction? The Clippers need to inject some younger, more athletic players into their roster and move out of the win-now, trade youth for vets mode Rivers had them in. The Clippers have done a poor job developing young talent and using that to supplement their stars (something teams like the Warriors and Spurs have done well over the years).

Winger should help change that dynamic.

LeBron James’ best play from every game in 2016-17 (VIDEO)

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I’m not sure it’s possible to argue that LeBron James is not the most important player in the NBA, even in 2016-17.

Yes, others have won the MVP award in years past, but each and every postseason you understand just how important LeBron is to every roster he is on. NBA players even voted him as the player they would most secretly want on their team.

That’s why it’s pretty easy to galvanize that opinion when you watch a 20-minute highlight video of LeBron’s best plays from each game of the past season.

Summer is upon us and even preseason seems like a long way off. Thankfully, we will be able to get to see plays like this here in what feels like the near future.