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Charles Oakley Tells Knicks ‘Do Something’ About Joel Embiid



If Joel Embiid had tried to cut down the Oak Tree, it wouldn’t have ended well.

That’s what the man himself, New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley, claims after he took in his successors’ NBA playoff tilt on Thursday night. The Knicks’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinal showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers was defined by controversy and heroics from Embiid, who scored 50 points in the 125-114 win but was at the center of a controversial takedown of Mitchell Robinson, who left the game with a flare-up of an injured ankle after the encounter.

While extracirriculars between the Knicks and Sixers were mostly limited to verbal blows, Oakley admitted that he wouldn’t be so eloquent.

Feb 23, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Former New York Knicks player Charles Oakley, left, attends the

“I probably would have smacked (Embiid),” Oakley said in an interview with Barbara Barker of Newsday. “You can’t let him send that kind of message. If he had done something like that (when I played), he wouldn’t have gotten away with it. David Robinson, when he played, he knew what he could get away with. They (bullies) pick a fight they think they are going to win.”

Oakley’s face would undoubtedly sit on the Mount Rushmore of 1990s hardwood physicality. The lauded rebounder and defensive force also knows a thing or two about swatting the Sixers, as he was part of the Knicks’ famous sweep from the 1989 postseason’s opening round, one that helped fuel a lasting rivalry with Philadelphia legend Charles Barkley. Oakley spent 10 years with the Knicks and also partook in their famed NBA Finals run from 1994.


Unknown Date, 1992; Philadelphia, PA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Philadelphia 76ers canter Charles Shackleford

Thursday’s loss certainly isn’t the end for the Knicks, who continue to hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven set, which continues on Sunday in Philadelphia (1 p.m. ET, ABC). But Oakley warned that Embiid’s excessive physicality could leave a lasting impression on the series, one that could end this promising playoff run before it truly begins. In his conversation with Barker, Oakley suggest that the Knicks give the reigning MVP when the two sides get back together to close out the weekend.

“They’ve got to do something about it,” Oakley said. “I wouldn’t be shaking their hands before the game when they play, friends or no friends. I wouldn’t shake Embiid’s hand or anyone’s hand. We are on a mission.”

“If I’m the Knicks, this is what I do. I’m putting him in every pick-and-roll,” Oakley said. “Make him work . . . Then you might want to set a hard pick on him. Let’s see how it feels when someone puts you out there.”

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