Former New York Knick, Charles Oakley is making headlines again. This time he is making comments on Stat and Melo and their roles as leaders on the Knicks. He questions their ability to be able to blend their teamwork and bring out the best in each of the other players. Yet, Stat and Melo are getting off easy. Back in February, Oakley made some pretty harsh comments on Charles Barkley, KG, and Kendrick Perkins. It’s clear he isn’t a fan when it comes to those three.
It seems that Oakley earned the right to speak his mind after his career performance in the NBA. My parents (Knicks fans) always talk of him as the NBA legend that represented the true spirit of New York – determined, strong, gritty, relentless, fearless and built like an oak tree. To hear my parents tell it, Oakley always gave “110% every game” and he was a “defensive monster” who intimidated the other team just by being on the court. He was known for his rebounding abilities and pure hustle on the floor.
I wanted to find out more about Oakley, so I checked out his career stats. Oakley came to the Knicks in 1988 in a trade that sent Bill Cartwright to the Bulls. He spent 10 years playing at MSG before being traded to the Toronto Raptors in 1998. In 1994, he was named to both the All-Defense team and the All-Star team. Some of his career highlights that stood out to me is that he averaged an impressive 9.6 rebounds per game, averaged 1.1 steals per game, which is very good for a power forward, and had a more than decent field goal percentage, averaging 47.1%.
So, I am wondering, is the legend of Charles Oakley as great as my parents tell it? Or does their love for the player cloud their judgment? Was he the ultimate defensive NYer? Would you want him on the Knicks today? Who has the attitude and skills of Oakley in today’s NBA? What player would you compare to him today?
8/18/2012 01:26:00 pm
Without a doubt Oakley epitomized New York. I respect whatever comments he makes because he holds nothing back even taking swipes at Knicks management when he was traded for Camby. We do need someone of his ilk in NY and I thank my lucky stars that Toney Douglas and his kind are gone because he did not represent what NY was all about (especially his non-existent defense). As a fan I miss Oakley and wish that he would somehow be tied to the Knicks front office when making decisions or even be an assistant coach. This would help bring back that hard nosed defense that Coach Woodson is trying to instill in the Knicks. This post sure brings back some good memories.
8/27/2012 07:36:03 am
That whole Knick team played hard defense. Did you know that Coach Riley would fine players if they let a player score down the lane without giving them a hard foul? That's crazy and borders on illegal.
8/19/2012 02:26:22 pm
Oakley was a great Knick and the defense of leader of the 1990's knick teams. The brand of basketball that Oakley played would not be allowed in today's NBA. Great defense was a staple in a NBA championship team in 1990's.
8/21/2012 04:29:08 am
Oakley is one of my favorite players and he deserves legendary status. It's too bad more of the new players don't share his dedication, work ethic and love for the game. They would be that much better for it and so would their fans:)
8/21/2012 12:11:15 pm
A lot of today's players wouldn't survive that brand of basketball. Karl Malone always worked out during the off season not just for basketball but to be a me take the beatings that Oakley, Anthony Mason and Terry Cummings type players would dish out. John Stockton was even tougher than the Steve Nash types and Lin types.
I know I wish basketball would be the way it used to be in the 70s, 80s, 90s, even the early 2000s. They should stop this madness, fire David Stern, and get a new owner who is going to make the NBA stop being like the WWE. Where it is all fake! This needs to stop, I don't want to see the Heat travel and nothing is called, I don't want to see them drive, not be touched and they end up with and-1! It's so not fair!!!!!! And it would definitely be better for the fans. Who is truly the best team in the NBA with Fair calls? At Oakley's time the NBA played it fairly, and that is how they made the NBA Finals! Anyway, thanks for posting!
8/23/2012 10:52:48 am
Hopefully Oakley's comments inspire Melo and Stat to think about team play so these great players contribute to making the Knicks all that they can be. Oakley's concerns seem legitimate and hopefully bringing up the issue will help. Mike V has made me interested in learning more about the Knicks during the Oakland days. I'll have to search the s
8/23/2012 11:11:53 am
Oakley was a perfect fit for New York. He was tough, durable, and was a great defender. He ranks 14th all time in the NBA for games played. If Ewing,Starks, or Jackson wasn't on that night they could always turn to Oakley. I wouldn't say he was an NBA legend but most definitely a Knick legend. He was one of the most reliable players ever in the NBA. You knew what you were getting from him day in day out which is a great quality for a player. Great post Mike!
Thanks and I agree that he was tough by learning about and watching all the games when he was in a Knick uniform and I realize that every single offensive or defensive possesion he was always involved in every play. And he's always working every time. So, thanks for giving me more information on one of my parents favorite players. Thanks for posting!
8/23/2012 11:51:33 am
Good read Mike! Oakley is definitely a legend. He made the game so much fun to watch. Wish he was in the game today, it's just not the same...
8/23/2012 11:52:00 am
Stern has done a lot for the NBA but when you treat Lebron like he's Michael Jordan where you can't touch him and where he fakes a neck injury and gets away with it is just pitiful...
8/23/2012 12:02:20 pm
Oakley's comments are good advice to Melo and Stat. It points out a way that these great players can make the Knicks the best that they can be. Getting the team to gel together may be what the Knicks need for success instead of superstars playing alone. Mike V has made me interested in learning more about the Oakley era of the Knicks. Thanks Mike V.!
8/23/2012 12:10:22 pm
If you're a real Knicks fan, you can't help but love Oakley. Personally, my favorite Knick is LJ but Oakley is up there too. I also love Patrick Ewing. There was a real sense of teamwork back then and I hope it comes back to the Garden. We have a good roster but just need better chemistry between the players. That seems to be Oakley's point and I think he is right. Good post. I enjoyed it.
8/25/2012 09:36:18 am
Totally agree with your comments! Oakely will always be a Knick and you can tell that he still cares for the team to even make a comment on how to improve them instead of just criticizing the organization.
8/23/2012 12:19:24 pm
Oakley was a solid player for the Knicks. He was durable, hard working, and very consistent. He is ranked 14th in all time in the NBA for games played. He will always be remembered as a player like you said played the game at 110% all the time which is all you can ask out of a player. I wouldn't say he is an all time great but most definitely a Knick great. It is rare to find a player like Oakley today in the NBA today. He was an awesome player to watch. Great Post!
8/25/2012 09:39:10 am
Oakley's number should be retired in the Knicks rafters. Not an all-time great as you stated but definitely an all-time Knick.
8/25/2012 10:08:51 am
Great points - he was a total Knick through and through and he was what New York Fans look for and expect in a player - we need more Oakley-style players on the court today!
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My name is Mike V. I am an enormous basketball fan. I also am a die-hard Knicks fan. After graduating 5th grade, I started writing this blog at the age of 10 in the summer of 2012.