Charles Oakley: NBA 'hard to watch'

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

The NBA isn't what it used to be. Just askCharles Oakley.

Oakley was honored by the Raptors on Friday, but the power forward who also played for Chicago, New York, Washington and Houston in a career that stretched from 1985-2004 had little good to say about today's game.

"Who do I like watching? It's hard to watch," he said. "I don't know, it's just, it's a different game. It's some good games and a lot of bad games. More bad games than good games these days."

Oakley, who had a brief stint as an assistant in Charlotte from 2010-11, said that experience informed his perspective.

"Everybody says the game has changed, instead of talking about the guys I got a chance to see 'em first hand," he said. "It was kind of bad."

Oakley -- who knew a thing or two about toughness during his playing days -- said, in part, players' mindsets have changed.

"The mind is not -- you don't have to be strong to play this game no more," he said.

"I don't know what it is. They just roll you out there like a basketball. That's why ... you see the same teams in the finals or winning 55 games. Strong teams, strong-minded coach. Just the players, they don't think it, they don't know how to play together," he said. "So that's one of things I see the weakness is: Communication, the guys don't love the game. They play the game, but they don't play with their heart."

The Raptors paid tribute to Oakley on Friday night, handing out bobbleheads to the first 5,000 fans. Oakley played 208 games for Toronto between 1998 and 2001.

Oakley, 51, was asked before the game against Miami if he could have imagined having a bobblehead day.

"Well, I had a head so you never know what could happen," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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