Charles Oakley (born December 18, 1963) is an American retired professional Basketball player who played Power forward (basketball) in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets.
Oakley was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He gained a reputation for being a hard worker and tenacious Rebound (basketball) 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.
Charles placed in the top ten in Rebounds per game five times between 1987 and 1994 (second in 1987 and 1988). 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 (1987 and 1988). 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 traded to the Chicago Bulls. Oakley provided another scoring option and steady offensive and defensive performances to an up-and-coming Bulls squad led by 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 (basketball) Bill Cartwright. Oakley eventually became a part of the core which the Knicks built around, which also featured Ewing, John Starks (basketball player), and Point guard Mark Jackson (basketball). Oakley's hard work and physical play for the Knicks won the hearts of many loyal Knicks' fans.
In 1998, Oakley was traded to the Toronto Raptors for blossoming star Marcus Camby. On the Raptors, he provided a veteran presence to a young team that included 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.Charles now has 2 very big nephews named Curtis and Christian.Also Charles has started golfing.
Charles Oakley was a defender of the NBA's dress code policy that was implemented before the 2005-2006 season stating "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?"
- Charles Oakley attended Virginia Union University, which is also the alma mater of Cleveland Cavaliers star Ben Wallace. Oakley played a key role in Wallace's development as a player.
- Oakley once made controversy by saying "You got guys out there playing high every night," Oakley claimed to the New York Post in 2001. "You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?"
- Oakley appeared in the video games NBA Jam and NBA Jam
- Oakley was a very physical 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. Oakley would take exception to another team fouling Bulls' star Michael Jordan. Jordan and Oakley 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.
Oakley was arrested on December 18, 2007 (his 44th birthday) after Georgia (U.S. state) police officers saw him driving erratically. Though a Breathalyzer test showed Oakley's blood alcohol content was below the state limit, he was charged with impaired driving.
Oakley is credited with the quote "If it ain't broke, don't break it".