Skip to main content

Charles Oakley once punched John Salley for making fun of Michael Jordan

Even off the court, "Oak" served as MJ's bodyguard.
Oakley and Jordan protected Jordan on the court, and he didn't even let a jokester like Salley tease him off the court.

Oakley and Jordan protected Jordan on the court, and he didn't even let a jokester like Salley tease him off the court.

The legendary Isiah Thomas once described John Salley as a guy that has theme music playing when he enters the room. And that couldn't be a more accurate description of the 6'11'' forward that had a lot of success in his career but still got remembered for being such a positive figure and hilarious character. But on one occasion, his jokes got him a punch in the stomach from Charles Oakley.

Oakley protecting MJ

Charles Oakley and Michael Jordan basically came into the NBA together with the Bulls, and the tough guy in "Oak" naturally served as a protector to the rising superstar in MJ. On the court, Oakley was the guy setting screens, doing the dirty work, and getting into altercations with anybody that messed with Michael. Even though they just spent three seasons in Chicago and a bit in Washington at the ends of their careers, that job got stuck in Oak's DNA, as he acted like that even off the court.

So on one occasion during the Kentucky Derby, an interesting group of people got together with MJ, Kobe, Dr. J., Dave Chapelle, Chris Tucker, and Charles Oakley. Salley, in his nature, decided to crack a few jokes and go at the biggest head in the group, busting MJ's balls about Kobe being better:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"Off to the right is Charles Oakley, who, if you don't know, is Michael's security guard forever and didn't like me. So, I look at Michael, and I said, wait, at 27 years old– whatever, 27 – I put my hand on Michael's shoulder, and I go, 'At 27 years old, young boy would have given you the business'."

John Salley, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

It was all in good nature without any bad intentions behind it, but Charles Oakley didn't really see it that way, as he decided to treat Salley with a gut punch:

"And out of the blue, Charles Oakley comes and punches me in the stomach. But I mean the way he wanted to hit Dolan. Not the way he was pushing the security guard. He unleashed on me, Dan. And I saw it at the last second and tightened up a little bit. He knocked all the air out of me...And Michael is like, 'No, come on Charles. You know Sal is crazy. He's just joking. He's just joking'. He's like, 'I don't like when he talks that stuff to you.' He's been wanting to hit me since the 80s. But, man, he hit me with everything he could."

John Salley, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

Even MJ, that always takes things personally didn't get offended by Salley saying Kobe would bust him up, but Oakley, in protective nature, defended Jordan's honor. Although it might have been done in a half funny/half-serious manner, knowing how rugged Oakley was, I don't doubt that one second that hurt, just like Salley said. 


Draymond Green had a huge blunt station at his wedding

No wonder LeBron, Curry, Tatum, and numerous other NBA stars had such a great time at Draymond's wedding.


Skip Bayless takes a dig at Bronny James' monster dunk: "Your dad would have done it better!"

It seems like Skip is planting seeds to hate on the next generation of LeBron James and his family.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye

“Everyone loves this conversation, but stop it, because the things that you judge it by is never the same.” — Channing Frye hates the GOAT debate

Frye explains why Shaquille O'Neal's percieved value has depreciated over time because of the GOAT conversation.

Michigan State Spartans center Anthony Ianni and forward Draymond Green

Why ex-teammate Anthony Ianni calls his friendship with Draymond Green a blessing in disguise

A great story explaining why Draymond is beloved by teammates, despite his abrasive character.

Golden State Warriors head coach Keith Smart instructs point guard Stephen Curry

“He didn't believe that much in Steph and would bench him a lot” — Jeremy Lin opens up about the rocky relationship between Steph Curry and his former coach Keith Smart

During Steph's second year in the league, he was often yelled at, benched during the 4th quarter, and reprimanded by his former coach, Keith Smart.

Paul Westhead, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers

“When you try to reign in a 22-year-old elite athlete from pushing himself to be his best, you’re going to get conflict.” — Kareem weighs in on the Magic vs. Westhead issue

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar walked down memory lane and shared his take on the issue between Magic Johnson and Paul Westhead back in the day.