Do you agree with Charles Oakley that the NBA “is hard to watch”?

Charles Oakley

Former NBA All-Star for the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls Charles Oakley recently delivered a damning verdict on the state of the NBA in the modern era.

Oakley was known as a tough operator on-court. Often the man binding a group of players together, his commitment to the team was second to none. And he is certainly well known for speaking his mind off the court, too.

The power forward is best remembered for his lengthy stay at the New York Knicks for whom, in the 1994 season, he recorded an incredible 107 starts. His status with the Knicks has not stopped him calling out the team over the years. He revealed recently that he has to use online ticket brokers when he wants to watch the New York team, and his relationship with owner James Dolan can hardly be classified as cordial.

In 1998, Charles Oakley moved to the Toronto Raptors, where he starred 208 times. The Raptors recently invited their ex-player to a tribute evening held in his honor, at which thousands of Oakley “bobbleheads” were handed out to fans.

The current state of play in the NBA was the target of Oakley’s ire when spoken to at the game against Miami Heat.

“Who do I like watching? It’s hard to watch,” he told Associated Press. “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.”

Oakley also questioned the commitment of modern players: likening them to a basketball, just rolling onto court: “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.”

Sheesh, at least it’s March, maybe Oak can enjoy some March Madness instead?

The opinions of an ex-player can often come across as sour grapes: the grumblings of someone reminiscing about a time gone by, through rose-tinted glasses. Oakley might well have hit on a little bit of truth with some of his comments, though. In a world where many distractions are vying for our time, there is a constant need for spectator sports to keep fans buying tickets, which you can do here, and to keep them engaged.

And that is the challenge which is laid before all owners, coaches and players—how to answer the critics and keep the fans rolling in.


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