The last enforcer Outrageous stories from the life and times of one of the NBA's fiercest competitors

Charles Oakley, 1963-

Book - 2022

"A memoir from Charles Oakley-one of the toughest and most loyal players in NBA history-featuring unfiltered stories about the journey that basketball has taken him on and his relationships with Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, James Dolan, Donald Trump, George Floyd, and so many others"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 796.323092/Oakley Checked In
New York : Gallery Books 2022.
First Gallery Books hardcover edition
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
x, 278 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
Charles Oakley, 1963- (author)
Other Authors
Frank Isola, 1964- (author)
  • Foreword / by Michael Jordon
  • Knocking out a jackass
  • Welcome to the league
  • Basketball junkie
  • Protecting MJ
  • The bomb squad
  • The price of being late
  • Life with Riley
  • High-stakes basketball
  • Reno to Houston
  • "They will choke"
  • Going Hollywood
  • New York time's up
  • Barkley and his big mouth
  • Five minutes for fighting
  • The reason they called me Oak Tree
  • The last waltz
  • Two kings
  • The owner
  • Say his name
  • The blood of a legend.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Former NBA All-Star Oakley debuts with a memorable if dewy-eyed account of his run in what he calls "the golden era of physical play" in the league. Anchored with a foreword by Michael Jordan--who refers to the author as his "bodyguard" during their time as teammates on the Chicago Bulls--Oakley's book skims over his youth and early love of the game to instead regale readers with tales from his playing days in the 1980s and '90s and his decade-long tenure with the Knicks, replete with cameos by the likes of Donald Trump. He also weighs in on a considerable amount of gossip, opening the book with the claim "I did not punch Charles Barkley"; providing his own commentary on the infamous feud between Michael Jordan and the Pistons' Isiah Thomas ("Thomas was jealous of Michael"); and with an almost laser-focused memory, recounting outrageous moments such as when Dennis Rodman (who he was "never friends" with) walked around a steakhouse he co-owned "eating food off customers' plates." Entertaining as it is, it can sometimes feels like a romanticized account of a bygone era full of grievances ("Jonathan Supranowitz is a straight bitch") that, nearly two decades on, clearly continue to incense him. Still, this remains an entertaining stroll down memory lane. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Basketball fans will remember Oakley (b. 1963) as a rough-and-tumble defensive force for nearly 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association. Oakley's unapologetic, uninhibited autobiography, written with journalist Isola (ESPN, SiriusXM), matches his dominant presence on the court. His career coincided with the NBA's movement into mainstream entertainment, the mid-1980s into the 1990s and beyond. Oakley never holds back in describing his early life and college career, playing for the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan, his triumphs and disappointments with the New York Knicks, and his relationships with numerous superstars of his era. Of particular interest are his thoughts and experiences as a Black athlete, including his connection with police brutality victim George Floyd. Fondly remembered for his loyalty to teammates and his innovative defensive presence, Oakley's stories bring back an era when basketball personalities and feuds were over the top and games were front-page news. VERDICT With his uncanny knack for being present at many milestone NBA events throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, Oakley has a familiar name and career that'll make this an attractive choice for sports fans and hoops aficionados. Recommended for public library collections with active sports collections.--Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The hard-nosed former professional basketball star shares his bold outlook on life as well as wild tales on and off the court. Oakley, who plied his trade in the NBA from 1985 to 2004, wants readers to remember three things: He's loyal, he's honest, and if you wrong him, he will never forget. Also, he's good friends with his former teammate Michael Jordan. Still close today, they have always bonded over their no-nonsense attitudes and approaches toward the game. The same cannot be said for Oakley's relationships with many other players of the era. The book is packed with Oakley's plainspoken disdain for former players, most notably Charles Barkley, who gets a whole chapter: "Barkley and his Big Mouth." Among the other players and coaches on the receiving end of Oakley's unforgiving eye include Lamar Odom, Dennis Rodman, Lenny Wilkins, and Tyrone Hill. LeBron James is one of the few exceptions, a genuine star whom Oakley befriended when James was just 17. Whether the author is recounting how he tricked an opposing player into drinking too much the night before a playoff game or bemoaning the lack of physicality in today's NBA, he walks readers through his career with unvarnished honesty. Many of Oakley's entertaining stories go beyond basketball; the strongest sections involve amusing run-ins with a wide range of celebrities, from Judge Mathis to Spike Lee. Oakley also has a serious side, on display when he discusses his friendship with George Floyd. "As a Black man in the United States I, too, have experienced police brutality and harassment before, but never to this extreme," he writes. "To watch the video and hear George desperately calling out to his mother for help was horrific." Throughout, Oakley emphasizes his role as a staunch defender of his teammates and doing what he thinks is right, never passing up the opportunity to vilify those who don't live up to his code. Basketball fans will enjoy Oakley's stories about the game's biggest stars and his opinions about them. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.