On NBA draft night in 1998, in a major shocker, the New York Knicks dealt Charles Oakley to the Toronto Raptors for Charles Oakley. The move to send a 34-year old, undersized power forward away for a 7-foot center with All-Star potential (just 24 months after he was selected No. 2 in the 1996 NBA draft) should have been met with wide acclaim from Knicks fans and NBA observers, but instead the move was initially widely panned.
In the years that followed, Charles Oakley just hasn’t been able to help himself when it comes to panning the team that dealt him, and for good reason – the Knicks made it to the Finals in its first season with Camby, but the franchise has won just three playoff series’ in the 17 years since. Oakley went on to do good work with those Raptors prior to a career as a journeyman with Chicago, Washington and Houston, but like many ex-Knicks he hasn’t gotten much of a warm reception from the team’s current ownership group, possibly due to the flailing Knicks having their just deserts handed to them year after year.
In a profile from the New York Times published recently, Oakley did not hesitate to admit that he has been held at arm’s length by the Knicks’ stuffed shirts, just about the only instance we can think of where an entity stopped Oakley from getting to a spot on the court he’d decided to camp out in.
Oakley has been estranged from the Knicks organization for years, a rift that stems, at least in part, from Oakley’s inability to keep some of his more caustic opinions to himself. He has, at different times, criticized the team’s front office, coaches and resident stars. In 2010, he advised James to avoid signing with the Knicks in free agency, which hardly endeared him to the organization. He has also called James L. Dolan, the owner, a bunch of bad names.
“The boss don’t like me,” Oakley said last week. “I wouldn’t mind having a sit-down dinner with Dolan. I wouldn’t mind cooking him dinner.”
“I mean, I had at least 15 people try to set up a meeting. He won’t meet. I want to sit down to talk to him. I want me and him in a room. And lock the door. Lock that door!”
“I mean, he can have the police outside the door.”
It should be noted that Oak jokes about putting “something in” that dinner with James Dolan, and we’ll just have to let the Knick fans in the comment section take it from there.
Dolan’s rise to the top of the Knick and MSG ledger came in the years that followed Oakley’s move to Toronto, and just as the Camby-led run under former coach Jeff Van Gundy was winding down in 2001. Since then the team has made the playoffs just four times in 15 tries in spite of working in what has been one of the dreariest turns of a conference in pro sports’ history – the Eastern Conference’s perpetually poor post-Michael Jordan malaise.
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Jordan, who hired Oakley to join his Washington Wizards in 2002 as a player prior to hiring him as an assistant coach in 2010 (Oakley has since been let go) by the Jordan-owned Charlotte franchise, can still be seen buddying around with his former Chicago Bulls teammate. MJ also employs former Knick legend Patrick Ewing, Oakley’s frontcourt mate from 1988 through 1998, as associate Hornets head coach. Ewing ranks as another famous Knickerbocker that isn’t happy with the way he’s been treated by the team he gave so much to during his playing career.
Oakley, famously, does not mince words when he isn’t happy with his own brand of treatment:
Charles Oakley is not enjoying the security around the Cavs locker room. "Touch me. See what the (bleep) happens." pic.twitter.com/68LMMh3rvR
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 20, 2016
Unaffiliated with any current NBA team, and undeterred by his rather upsetting performance on a celebrity version of ‘Chopped’ …
… Oakley current runs a private catering company called Oakley in the Kitchen.
There are hats and aprons for sale, which you should most definitely buy, but prospective clients should be made aware of the fact that Oakley charges the price of a sound compact car for one night of his culinary services: $20,000 for “25 to 30 people.”
“I’m available,” Oakley said. “I’m not cheap, but I’m available.”
Save to dine with James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks.
(The man that Charles Oakley joked about poisoning.)
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