Charles Oakley continues to spew ridiculous takes on Patrick Ewing and his success with the New York Knicks of the 1990s.
Charles Oakley and the New York Knicks will always be connected, for better or worse. The tough guy of those rough-and-tumble 90s teams has become the No. 1 Knicks hater in recent years, partially stemming from a feud with team owner James Dolan.
However, recently, Oakley has become a frequent critic of Patrick Ewing. Wait a second, Hall of Fame, 11-time All-Star, Dream Team Patrick Ewing? That Patrick Ewing?
Yeah, well, for whatever reason, Oakley has made it his mission to try and tear down Ewing. His recent comments focus on Ewing’s inability to put the Knicks over the top and bring a championship to New York. Oakley went as far as to say that Ewing “held back” the Knicks in the 90s.
“He never put us on his back like he should have because every adversity he ducked away from,” Oakley told Damon Amendolara of CBS Sports Radio.
Oakley says the ‘90s Knicks were held back by Ewing’s leadership style. “He never put us on his back like he should have because every adversity he ducked away from.” pic.twitter.com/9ARQrUMb9P
— Damon Amendolara (@DAonCBS) April 13, 2020
Ewing “held back” the Knicks? This is a laughable take and it’s further evidence of Oakley’s vendetta against his former team. Ewing elevated the Knicks to a Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 1994 among other success in the 90s.
Oakley, John Starks, and Derek Harper were all solid players, but Ewing was the straw that stirred the drink on those teams. He averaged 21.9 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks during the 1994 playoffs despite struggling in Games 6 and 7 of the Finals.
Rough 13-for-37 shooting numbers give Oakley some basis for his “never put us on his back” comments, but the fact of the matter is that Ewing carried the franchise as its lone star for over a decade.
Without Ewing, the 90s Knicks aren’t even a footnote in NBA history. They definitely don’t go to the playoffs every season from 1988 to 2001 without Ewing’s help.
Patrick Ewing and the Knicks didn’t win a championship in the 80s and 90s, but the same can be said for a lot of Hall of Famers in that era. Perhaps Oakley forgets that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls owned the 90s. For all six of Chicago’s titles, Jordan was flanked by Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. For the last three, Jordan had Hall of Famer and defensive dynamo Dennis Rodman.
Jordan was a much better player than Ewing, but it’s impossible to overlook the disparity in each star’s supporting cast. Again, guys like Starks, Oakley, Harper, Anthony Mason, Xavier McDaniel, and Mark Jackson were all good players. But they couldn’t hold a candle to Pippen.
If Oakley is looking for reasons why the Knicks never got over the hump in the 90s, he can only look to himself. His lone All-Star season came in 1994, the same year the Knicks reached Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Not only were the Bulls dominant, but the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat were always tough playoffs matchups in the 90s. New York’s playoff path was rarely a walk in Central Park.
The Knicks never got their ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes in the 90s, but that shouldn’t diminish Ewing’s legacy. He’s arguably the best player in franchise history and Oakley just sounds like a bitter old man at this point.