The Toronto Raptors paid tribute to Charles Oakley recently, handing out bobbleheads to the first 5,000 fans at a home game. Oakley played 208 games for Toronto between 1998 and 2001.
Former NBA All-Star himself was present in the arena, and spoke to the media. Oakley basically had little good to say about today’s NBA.
“You don’t have to be strong to play this game no more,” he said.
Oakley didn’t even say whom he likes watching play today.
“Who do I like watching? It’s hard to watch,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s just, it’s a different game. It’s some good games and a lot of bad games. More bad games than good games these days.”
The biggest reason for the change, according to Oakley is that the players do not play with heart.
“I don’t know what it is. They just roll you out there like a basketball. That’s why … you see the same teams in the finals or winning 55 games. Strong teams, strong-minded coach. Just the players, they don’t think it, they don’t know how to play together,” he said.
“So that’s one of things I see the weakness is: Communication, the guys don’t love the game. They play the game, but they don’t play with their heart,” Oakley said.
Oakley played 19 years in the NBA, for Chicago Bulls, NY Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets. Oakley spent 10 years with the NY Knicks. He played a total of 1282 games (started 1159), averaging 9.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg in 31.4 mpg.
Oakley led the NBA in total rebounds for 2 straight years in a row (1987, 1988), and was known to be one of the toughest forwards in the league. Oakley was named an NBA All-Star in 1994, while playing for the Knicks.
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