Skip to main content

“Coaches are afraid of their players” — Charles Oakley slams coach-player relationships of this era

Oak got to the root of the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers' struggles this season.
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash congratulates guard Kyrie Irving, Charles Oakley

Kyrie Irving, Steve Nash, and Charles Oakley

NBA icon Charles Oakley is back at it again. In his latest quip, the New York Knicks legend slammed coach-player relationships of this generation. From his observation, coaches don’t really instruct their players, and the athletes certainly don’t really listen.

A different ball game

Oakley chimed in on the Brooklyn Nets’ playoff struggles and the Los Angeles Lakers’ mediocre season. He opined that Steve Nash might not be the coach for the Nets. On the rumor that Phil Jackson might be back on the Purple and Gold sidelines, Oakley uttered the cold truth about players and coaches nowadays.

These guys are different. You gotta be real patient. You gotta consider how you talk to them. It’s just a different ball game. If you watch basketball now, you see how guys play, they’re not being coached a hundred percent. You see guys on the court don’t know their roles. Coaches are not telling them. Coaches are afraid of these guys in this era. You got 3-4 coaches who can get their point across. But out of 30 teams, you only got 4 coaches getting their point across? That’s not a good percentage in no way, no how,” Oakley said per TMZ.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

It would’ve been more interesting if Oakley named those coaches whom he believes command respect from his players. One of them is definitely Gregg Popovich — one of the greatest of them all.

The athlete takes control

We could accuse Oakley of being your typical old head who's too harsh on the current generation. However, we could also parse out his comments and relate them to the current trend among superstars to take charge of their careers.

We can say that LeBron James is the poster boy of this trend. His decision to take his talents to South Beach opened the eyes of his colleagues that when you have enough leverage, you can call the shots. Not long after “The Decision,” superstars started publicly requesting to be shipped elsewhere. Some even have a shortlist of their preferred destinations.

The most controversial request to date is from Ben Simmons, who was fined for every game he missed, which amounted to millions of dollars. Once Simmons finally showed up to practice, he was immediately thrown out by head coach Doc Rivers for refusing to participate actively.

These might be the instances that stood out in Oakley’s eyes which made him conclude that this era is just different. It seems great that the players have more control of their careers. But from the tactical point of view, too much reign is detrimental. At the end of the day, the coach should have the final say.

American actor Ben Stiller

“I’ll be in my mid-60s by the time this team rebuilds” - Ben Stiller on being a New York Knicks fan

Stiller summed up the experience of being a Knicks fan: “Who would want this pain? Who would want to feel that frustration?”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

The difference between Michael Jordan's and LeBron James' diet and workout regime

Michael Jordan and LeBron James' diets are similar to each other but the way they recover and workout is different.

Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird

"Score meant very little, but a lot of talking going on, a lot of fun." - Larry Bird learned trash-talking from black men working at a local hotel

In the process, Bird developed a genuine off-the-court relationship with most of them, particularly a guy whom he called “Slim.”

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant

Brian Windhorst on Kevin Durant potentially holding out — “I can see it. That’s what we’re headed towards”

Several recent developments turned Durant's potential holdout from unlikely to very possible.

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings goes off on the state of the NBA - “It’s only a couple of guys in the NBA that love the game”

Jennings' opinions are certainly divisive, but it's clear that without change the NBA would get stale, and that's why it's necessary to continue exploring ways to evolve the game

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan’s secret tattoo and the meaning behind it revealed

It's barely visible and not something MJ liked to talk about.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Zach Snyder on directing Michael Jordan in "Playground" — “He’s a natural.”

One went on to make Space Jam, the other 300, Justice League, Army of the Dead, Man of Steel, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead. Two great movie careers, starting in 1990.