|Bobcats assistant coach Charles Oakley continues to be a quote machine in the NBA. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP)
CHARLOTTE — Charles Oakley has never been shy about speaking his mind and that might be why it took so long for him to get a position on a coaching staff.
Though the former Raptor is finally back on the bench, as an assistant for Paul Silas and the Bobcats, he has not turned over a new leaf in the quotability department.
Oakley let loose Tuesday morning on a number of topics — including the fans in Toronto, Bryan Colangelo’s strategy of building around a three-point shooting centre and the Carmelo Anthony trade.
When asked why it seems star players in Toronto often aren’t embraced by the fan-base the way hard workers like Oakley and Reggie Evans usually are, Oakley first corrected this scribe by saying about Evans: “We’re not even in the same conversation but go ahead ...” before giving his always unique take.
“When I first came to Toronto I told (the fans) my thing was, make the team better every year and that’s what I did,” explained Oakley.
“They are into the numbers and the hype but then when the hype leaves, they get mad at the person.
“Like (Chris) Bosh, they boo him. Why boo him? Why boo Vince (Carter), Tracy (McGrady)? I mean, why boo any of us? We didn’t do nothing wrong, we didn’t trade ourself, management did that.”
The 47-year-old former all-star and all-defensive team member wasn’t done. Not even close. He has expressed his disdain for big men or offences which feature 7-footers bombing away from outside in the past and it seems that opinion has not changed.
“When you’ve got a team (where) you’ve got your best player shooting three pointers you aren’t going to win nothing anyways,” he said.
The Bobcats have gone 15-13 since Silas and his staff took over for Larry Brown (following a 9-19 start) and Oakley has enjoyed being back in the game. He thinks many of today’s players are lacking in fundamentals and believes he and Silas can help in that regard.
“A lot of guys don’t understand the game. They don’t, we want them to get back to fundamentals.”
Oakley, who spent the best years of his career in New York with the Knicks, also weighed in on the Anthony blockbuster and said he is happy for Anthony, the Knicks and their fans, but expressed some doubt on just how much the move will help the Knicks.
“He’ll be good, they’ve got pieces, but what kind of pieces have you got? Where can those pieces take you,” Oakley said.
“When you can’t play defence, you ain’t going nowhere, I don’t care how much scoring you’ve got. At the end of the day, your best teams know how to play defence and they understand good teams don’t play around.”
Having been traded twice, Oakley said he has used his experience to help out Bobcats stars Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, who have both been rumoured to be on the trading block.
In his own indomitable fashion, Oakley explained that being in demand is a good thing.
“There ain’t nothing wrong when your name gets mentioned in a trade,” he said.
“I would take it like: ‘Hey, I’m the hottest thing on the block. I’m Beyonce or Halle Berry. So keep talking about me. My records keep selling. My red lipstick keeps selling.”