Charles Oakley might not want to return to MSG after his beef with James Dolan, but that won't keep him from watching his Knicks ... sitting courtside as New York visited the Cavs Thursday night.
Oak -- a Cleveland native -- was invited to sit next to Dan Gilbert to have an up-close look at LeBron James and the defending world champs beat up on the struggling Knicks.
Oakley was temporarily banned from the Garden after getting ejected and arrested at the February 8 Knicks game. Dolan later lifted the ban, but Oak says he's not ready to return to the arena.
The Land has continued to show support for the former NBAer ... from making t-shirts to LBJ telling reporters, "Oakley for president."