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Tom Thibodeau supports Knicks retiring Charles Oakley’s number

Tom Thibodeau supports Knicks retiring Charles Oakley's number

In wake of the revelation made by Charles Oakley that the Garden offered to retire his No. 34 as a peace offering, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said several players from the great 1990s teams should get the honor.

“In terms [of] Oak and those guys, I love the ’90s teams, so I’m for all those guys having their jerseys retired,” said Thibodeau, who was an assistant coach on coach Jeff Van Gundy’s staff from 1996-2000. Thibodeau stayed on until 2003 after Van Gundy quit.

Thibodeau was likely referring most to ’90s stalwarts Oakley, John Starks, Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell and Larry Johnson. Patrick Ewing’s No. 33 already is in the rafters.

The Knicks have been stingy when it comes to retiring their players’ numbers for posterity. Hanging in the Garden rafters are the numbers of the elite contributors who have won a Knicks championship and the guy considered the greatest player in their history — Ewing.

Oakley claimed that during conciliatory talks with the Knicks sometime after his 2017 ejection incident, team ownership offered to retire his No. 34 in a ceremony.

Oakley said he declined.

“They came to me and said they were going to retire my jersey, do this and do that,” Oakley said on James Posey’s podcast, “The Posecast,” in February. “And I’m like, ‘Nah, you can’t buy me that easy. If you retire the jersey, th at benefits you, that ain’t benefitting me.’ ”

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Oakley said he didn’t want to because it was a ticket-selling scheme.

“If you want to put it outside with the flag, and people don’t have to pay to come in and see it … let them drive past and see it,” Oakley said. “Let it be a tourist spot.”

Oakley has not appeared at the Garden since his forcible ejection on Fe. 8, 2017, which led to an arrest and lawsuits, and his James Dolan feud still appears on.

This issue came to light after Van Gundy said in a documentary that Oakley should have his number retired.

Knicks Tom Thibodeau, Charles Oakley
Tom Thibodeau, Charles Oakley
NBAE via Getty Images; Paul J. Bereswill

“If I was Mr. Dolan, I would retire his number and I would have a ceremony with or without him,” Van Gundy said in a recent interview with The Athletic. “I think his play, his impact on winning and his unique relationship with the fans warrants that he has his number retired.”


John Henson, the power forward/center signed to a 10-day contract Monday, is already hurt with a calf strain and will be out indefinitely. Henson and Norvel Pelle were signed as insurance with Mitchell Robinson likely out for the regular season after foot surgery.

“John tweaked his calf [Tuesday] — we had some guys working out together just getting some extra work,” Thibodeau said before Wednesday’s game against the Celtics. “So we think he’ll be fine.”

Pelle dislocated his finger in his Knicks debut Saturday in Detroit, but was available to face Boston.

With the recent shooting slump of point guard Immanuel Quickley, Thibodeau was asked if the rookie is overdoing his trademark floater and if the he wishes he’d take it to the basket more.

“I actually like the shot profile,” Thibodeau said. “The floater is a big part of the game. I think he’s got one of the best ones in the league. There’s going to be ebbs and flows to the season. As long as he’s taking the right shot. His shot selection is very good.”

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About the author

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Donald Langer

Donald is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional cricket and football matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the sports section of The Madison Leader Gazette.

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