|Team||Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)|
|Date of birth||December 18, 1963|
|Place of birth||Cleveland, Ohio|
|No.(s): 33, 34|
|Date of birth||December 18, 1963|
|Place of birth||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Listed height||6 ft 9|
|Listed weight||245 lbs|
|NBA Draft||1985; Round: 1 / Pick: 9th|
|Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Charles Oakley at NBA.com|
Charles Oakley (born December 18, 1963 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a retired American professional basketball player and current assistant coach to the Charlotte Bobcats. Oakley played Center/power forward and gained fame in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks in the early 1990s. He is 6'9" and 245 lb.
Oakley gained a reputation for being a hard worker and tenacious rebounder for all of the teams he played for, especially the Knicks, where Charles played the role of partner to Patrick Ewing in the low post. He placed in the top ten in rebounds/game 5 times between 1987 and 1994 (2nd in 87 and 88). In all but one of these seasons he played the full complement of 82 games. Due to his durability he actually placed in the top ten in total rebounds 6 times and led the league in total rebounds twice (87 and 88). In 1994, he became an NBA-All Star and was chosen to the league's All-Defense 1st team. Drafted in 1985 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charles' draft rights were immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls. There, Oakley provided another scoring option and steady offensive and defensive performances to an up-and-coming Bulls squad led by a young Michael Jordan. He earned All-Rookie Team honors in 1986.
With the drafting and development of Horace Grant, the Bulls traded Oakley to the New York Knicks for 7'1" center Bill Cartwright. Oakley eventually became a part of the core which the Knicks built around, which also featured Ewing, John Starks, and point guard Mark Jackson. Oakley's hard work and physical play for the Knicks' defense won the hearts of many loyal Knicks fans, making him a fan favorite.
In 1998, Oakley became one half of two controversial moves the Knicks made to get younger, as he was traded to the Toronto Raptors for 6'11" forward-center Marcus Camby. The other move saw Starks go to the Golden State Warriors for Latrell Sprewell. On the Raptors, he provided a veteran presence to a young team led by Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. Oakley later played for the Bulls again, followed by the Washington Wizards and most recently the Houston Rockets. On the Rockets, he was briefly reunited with former Knick teammates Mark Jackson, who was the veteran point guard behind Steve Francis; Patrick Ewing, who was an assistant coach with the Rockets; and head coach Jeff Van Gundy, former head coach in Charles' days in New York City.
His total of 12,205 place him 18th on the All-time professional basketball rebound list ahead of #19 Dennis Rodman. He is 17th on the NBA rebound list when Artis Gilmore's American Basketball Association rebounds are excluded. His total of 1351 steals place him 46th (43rd) on the all time steal lists. He was also 2nd team All-Defensive in 1998.
A lot like Yogi Berra, Charles Oakley was famous for his quotes. Some of the more notable ones have been:
"If it ain't broke, don't break it."
"They're like contracts. Everybody's got one. Some are just bigger than others." - Oakley on the entourages of NBA players.
"If you have a horse that isn't winning any races, sooner or later you have to get a new jockey." - Oakley, on Chicago Bulls' coach Tim Floyd.
"I'm cool with whatever. I'll just keep eating my bread, sipping my soup and serving my time. But the chicken is going to lay some more eggs one day." - Oakley as a veteran, on being benched in favor of teenagers.
"It was like the police trying to stop a shootout: You gotta have your gun out. Don't go out there with your hands down." - -Oakley, on Knick's coach Jeff Van Gundy getting head butted while trying to stop Marcus Camby from sucker punching Danny Ferry.
"Oh well, that's basketball. It used to be basketball. I don't know what it is now." - -Oakley, on the flagrant foul he was assessed for flattening the Nets' Kenyon Martin.
"You got to know when enough's enough. You want to rob the bank, but you better not be complainin' when you get caught. In my day, a guy who jumps that high with that many tatoos, he would've wound up sitting on the floor at least once. It's just the kind of player (Martin) is. And the kind of guy I am." - Oakley, on Kenyon Martin and his flagrant foul reputation.
"He's a lawyer, not a GM. You can't spend $250 million on contracts and not make the playoffs. Vince Carter's mom runs that team. She's the GM." - Oakley on Toronto GM Glen Grunwald.
Charles Oakley was a defender of the NBA's 2005 dress code policy that was implemented before the 2005-2006 season to make sure that NBA players maintained a fresh and dapper demeanor off the court.
"Allen Iverson has been in the league for 10 years and he's still wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Grow up already," Oakley said. "I'm not trying to sound like some old guy who says this is the way we used to do it. Why not look professional instead of looking like you belong on a street corner?"
In 2001, Oakley was one in the middle of one of basketball's fiercest rivalries with Tyrone Hill. This rivalry came to a head in the 2001 NBA basketball playoff series between Oakley's Toronto Raptors and Hill's Philadelphia 76ers.
In the 2000 season, Oakley was suspended and fined for throwing a basketball off Hill's head after a morning shoot-around. Before a pre-season game at the start of the 2000-2001 season, Oakley slapped Hill and was not allowed to play in the game.
In May, 2001, Hill paid Oakley $54,000 for a dice game that allegedly took place two summers prior. "A gentleman pays his debt within a week or two," Oakley said of the payment.
In the 2001 NBA playoffs, Oakley constantly chided teammate Vince Carter and even exchanged words with Carter's mother. This was rumored to be over Carter letting Oakley and other teammates down during crunch time.
Oakley had a rumored run-in with the producer of the 1989 NBA video Awesome Endings.
In January 2002, Oakley committed a series of hard fouls against Shaquille O'Neal that led to a fight and wrestling match which spilled over from the paint to the Chicago Bulls bench on the other side of the floor. Oakley was suspended for two games, O'Neal for three.
- Charles Oakley attended Virginia Union University, which is also the alma mater of Chicago Bulls star Ben Wallace. Oakley played a key role in Wallace's development as a player.
- Oakley once made controversy by saying that 60% of the NBA smoked marijuana.
- Oakley's player nickname was Oak Tree or simply Oak.
- Oakley owns a chain of car washes in the New York area named Oakley's Car Wash.
- Oakley appeared in the video games NBA Jam and NBA Jam Tournament Edition, and the Hootie & the Blowfish music video "Only Wanna Be With You".
- Oakley was a very physical (but not dirty) player and contributed personally by example to the development and refinement of the Flagrant Foul rules in the NBA.
- Oakley is friends with Michael Jordan dating back to their days as teammates on the Chicago Bulls. During that time, Oakley gained a reputation as something as an enforcer and protector. If Jordan was the victim of a hard foul, Oakley would take exception to another team fouling the Bulls' star player. The two still play golf and attend various functions together.
- During the Knicks' 1994 season, which included a record 25 playoff games, Oakley started every regular season and playoff game for a record 107 starts in a single season.