It was a couple of minutes before midnight when Charles Oakley, once upon a time the muscle of the Knicks, walked out of Midtown South on a cold winter night. One hour earlier, a young cop stood on the precinct steps and began chanting "Free Charles Oakley! Free Charles Oakley!"

That moment finally arrived when Oakley, dressed in a black suit, stepped into an SUV that made a right turn out of the station and sped down 36th Street heading east.

After a failed attempt to get his attention by flagging down the car, I called Oakley's cellphone. He immediately answered and sounded like the same old Oak.

"How was I supposed to see you," he yelled. "It's been a long night. I'm not looking out the damn window."

Oakley was arrested early Wednesday following an altercation with Garden security guards. It was a surreal and unfortunate scene for one of the most popular players in franchise history. Oakley was eventually wrestled to the floor by six security guards. That made the scene all the more shocking.