NEW ORLEANS — With a new labor deal already in place, Adam Silver’s heaviest lifting Saturday came as he defused a pair of controversies—one serious and one silly—that have dominated the conversation at All-Star Weekend.
Speaking at his annual All-Star address, the NBA commissioner extended an olive branch to ex-Knicks forward Charles Oakley, who was arrested earlier this month following an incident with Madison Square Garden security. Silver set up a meeting between Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan earlier this week in hopes of brokering peace following intense criticism of Oakley’s treatment and a series of damaging public statements by Dolan in the aftermath of the arrest. While Silver issued a statement noting that both men “were apologetic” after the meeting, which also included Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Oakley continued to criticize Dolan in interviews this week.
Silver acknowledged that Oakley was “very emotional” during the meeting and stated that he was “hopeful that Charles will sort of come back into the family.” Officially, Dolan has lifted the “ban” of Oakley from MSG, but Silver said that he didn’t leave the meeting feeling that the issue had been completely resolved. Indeed, Oakley suggested in an SI Now interview this week that he felt the meeting was set up as a public relations move in advance of All-Star Weekend and compared Dolan to Donald Sterling, the disgraced former Clippers owner.
“While I'm disheartened that, at least based on media accounts, that it does not appear to be moving forward in a constructive way, right now I don't regret that I had that meeting,” Silver said. “And if there is a constructive role I can play going forward, I'm available to do that. Again, I didn't compel them to meet with me. I did it because I thought it would be helpful. And frankly, in retrospect, I still think it was helpful.”
Los Angeles is set to host the 2018 All-Star Weekend. Charlotte and Cleveland are both reportedly under consideration for future All-Star Weekends.