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Charles Oakley Not A Fan of Today’s NBA

“It’s kind of bad… you don’t have to be strong to play this game no more.”

Charles Oakley takes in an NBA game these day and isn’t quite sure what he’s watching. The only thing he seems certain of is that he has little appreciation for what he’s bearing witness to.

“Who do I like watching? It’s hard to watch,” Oakley recently told ESPN. “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 Oakman being The Oakman, he chose the night he was being honored by the Toronto Raptors as his stage for voicing his concerns. Say what you will about Oakley that’s his opinion and he’s sticking to it.

Sticking to it, no matter what it might cost him. The former NBA strongman man served a year as an assistant under Hornets’ owner and former teammate Michael Jordan before somewhat mysteriously leaving the franchise after a season and a period of rising criticism about the ways and practices of the players he was  entrusted with getting the best out of.

“Everybody says the game has changed, instead of talking about the guys I got a chance to see ’em first hand,” said Oakley. “It was kind of bad. The mind is not — you don’t have to be strong to play this game no more.”

Certainly, that’s what made Charles Oakley, Charles Oakley. He served three seasons as Michael Jordan’s bodyguard in Chicago, then spent well more than twice that amount of time helping Pat Riley and Patrick Ewing start a culture in New York that Phil Jackson is still trying to replicate.

But to hear the 51-year-old Oakley speak today, you wonder if even he thinks he could have a role in today’s NBA.

“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “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. 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.”

All that’s just Oakley being Oakley, a case of the veteran forward clearly speaking his mind and just as openly wearing his heart on his sleeve. During Sunday’s Bulls vs. Thunder game and following a first quarter during which the two teams combined to shoot 13 of 53, Oakley tweeted “is anybody watching this Sunday Bulls vs. OKC, WOW, WOW. I’m going walking.”

For a man never at a loss of words, that says it all for Charles Oakley.

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