Blog Entry

Oakley: LeBron missing what Michael Jordan had

Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:48 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 7:01 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver


If your goal is to measure a man's worth, you probably want to talk to Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Charles Oakley. Those guys pretty clearly established themselves as the experts at sizing people up. Hemingway would take the subject to the bar to see how much he could drink, King would distill a man's soul in a few lines of speech, and Oakley, one of the NBA's most notorious tough guys, would just stand there, glaring, seeing if the guy flinched. What more do you need to know?

As such, asked Oakley to chime in with his thoughts about much-maligned Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James. Earlier this year, former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen declared that James would go down as the greatest basketball player of all time, ranking ahead of The Greatest Player Of All Time, Bulls guard Michael Jordan. Pippen later walked back the comments but the damage was done.

Here's what Oakley had to say.
"I wouldn’t put [James and Jordan] in the same conversation."

"It took a while for Michael to win championships too, but they have a different swagger, a different demeanor. If I would compare anybody to Michael Jordan, it would be Kobe Bryant. Point blank. I know LeBron well; he don’t have what Michael have so I’m not even gonna discuss that one." 

"To be a superstar (LeBron) has to go back to his fundamentals… work on his post game, work off the ball."
Not in the same converation. Not even going to discuss it. Has to get back to his fundamentals. Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma'am.

It goes without saying that Oakley is about as biased as one can get in this particular evaluation. After all, he was Jordan's teammate with the Bulls and Wizards, serving as an on-court bodyguard and off-court gambling buddy. He also served as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats, a team Jordan owns, and the two are reportedly close friends. Nothing has changed since the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons tried to rough up Jordan back in the day; Oakley still has his buddy's back.

But we shouldn't dismiss the finer points of Oakley's account simply because of his relationship with Jordan. After all, he's not really covering new ground in attacking James' psyche, polish and determination. His is just another voice repeating similar nit-picks of James' game that have persisted for years. It doesn't sound personal to Oakley. Just frank talk, as always. 

It's worth noting that Oakley and Pippen, who both spent significant time around Jordan, have such divergent opinions. Perhaps that's because Pippen was still around to win six titles with the Bulls while Oakley retired having never won a ring. It would be easy -- perhaps even natural -- for Pippen to take all that winning for granted or to assign himself an outsized portion of the credit for those six titles. Oakley, though, has no such luxury. He can only view Jordan as The Greatest through the lens of a man who saw him develop first-hand and then was defeated, time and again after he was traded to the New York Knicks, by the fully-formed product. Perspective is a mother!

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:38 pm

Oakley: LeBron missing what Michael Jordan had

Oakley is right. Le Bron certainly has the tools to be the greatest player in the history of the NBA , but he lacks the one ingrediant you can't coach "HEART" Michael would never lay down as Le Bron did in game 3 aginst the Celtics. Michael would rather die than quit on his team. I really don't see a Le Bron team winning a championship because the main problem on a Le Bron team is Le Bron. Unless he can stop this ridiculous attempt to be another Oscar or Magic and work in the trenches where the Heat really need help, even teamed up with a truely great basketball player like DeWayne Wade it will not work. (I don't care how many triple doubles you get it dosen't mean a thing if you dont win the game)   

Since: Oct 19, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:48 pm

Oakley: LeBron missing what Michael Jordan had

LE FRAUD JAMES!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 8:52 am

Oakley: LeBron missing what Michael Jordan had

sportstr - just asking a question - not attacking ok.

Why are you commenting?  Why are you reading the article? Why are you on the NBA section?  If you dont like NBA and love college hoops, why do you waste time reading and commenting here? 

just really confusing.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:11 am

Oakley: LeBron missing what Michael Jordan had

There is no need for the NBA.  College basketball is competitive, entertaining, and exciting - all without the selfish, overpaid NBA players.  GREAT SEASON HERE!
I love College Basketball and I really enjoy watching the games, I might be a fool but I am hoping Utep win another championship.
But there an lot good college players that want to play in the NBA, it's a goal that they could set and try to reach.  Beside there are selfish player in college

Since: Oct 26, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:27 am

title time

if lebron win a title, will he roll around on the floor with the trophy like michael did to get some publicity?

Since: Jul 10, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 12:14 am

Oakley: LeBron and NBA missing AND Nobody Cares

There is no need for the NBA.  College basketball is competitive, entertaining, and exciting - all without the selfish, overpaid NBA players.  GREAT SEASON HERE!

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