THROWBACK: Former Bulls Teammate Charles Oakley Explains How He Protected the ‘Goal’ Michael Jordan

Published 08/31/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Michael Johnson #23, shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls prepares to make a shot during a Central Division game in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) 1988 – 1989 season at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, United States. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images)


Anyone who knows basketball knows of Michael Jordan. MJ is one of the most valuable players to the basketball world. His rise to stardom put the NBA on the map and helped it grow to new limits. Now, it is the biggest basketball league in the entire world.

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However, many sacrifices went in for Jordan to shine through his career. One such player was power forward, Charles Oakley. Oakley came into the league a year after MJ. While he didn’t play often with MJ, he sacrificed his game to let him shine through.

Michael Jordan playing baseball for the Birmingham Barrons in the Arizona Fall League, early 1994 (Photo by Scott Clarke/WireImage)

In a throwback interview, he talks about how he protected Jordan even though he was his big brother.

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Oakley protected Michael Jordan

In an interview, Oakley was asked about how he would protect Jordan in his time with the Chicago Bulls. Charles responded saying that he accepted Jordan to be the man on the team and he was willing to protect him to make sure everything around him was right.

Oakley said: “When you a power forward and you a tough minded guy, it’s like someone pick on your little brother. You gonna say, well I gotta go protect him. But he was a big brother, but I just took care of him. It was just great to play that role because, you gotta protect the goal. He was the goal and you gotta make sure everything right around the goal.”

He also talked about how he did not like when other superstars did not take care of their players. Charles said: “You get so many superstars don’t take care of their players and I see a lot of that, and I don’t like that. Because I am giving my game up so I can find my talent for you to shine because you the man. I want you to be the man.”

Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan playing against New York Knick # 20 Rolando Blackman at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

Oakley sacrificed a lot of his game for other guys to shine. In Chicago it was with Michael Jordan, and in his stint with New York he played behind Patrick Ewing. Hence, he gave up his game for other players to be great. However, that did not take away from his own greatness.

Charles Oakley career

Oakley came out of a Division II school. Bulls’ Jerry Krause, however, saw potential in the 6’8 power forward. He made a deal with Cleveland to draft Oakley and later trade him to Chicago. From there, he became one of the leading forwards in the league.

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Oakley was majorly known for his rebounding. He consistently came up as one of the best rebounders in the league. While his stay with the Bulls was short, he spent most his career in new York. Oakley played 10 seasons for the New York Knicks and even went to an NBA finals.

SLUG: SP/WIZARDS4 DATE:12/03/02 PHOTO BY : JOEL RICHARDSON DIG WASHINGTON WIZARDS BEAT THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS 103-78,,, MICHAEL JORDAN HOLDS BACK CHARLES OAKLEY FROM GETTING INTO AN AGRUEMENT. (Photo by The The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, he failed to add an NBA title. However, he had a fine run with the Knicks. In his second season as a Knick, he averaged a career high 14.6 points to go with almost 12 rebounds per game. In 1993, he made the All-Defensive first team honors as well.

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Oakley hung up his boots at 40 after a 7 game stint with the Houston Rockets in 2003. He ranks among the top 25 in all time rebounds in NBA history. To sum it up, he had an illustrious career and made the most of his role with his teams.

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Anuj Talwalkar

292 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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