With the current state of the cold-shooting New York quartet of Harrington, Chandler, Q-Rich and Nate Robinson compared by Posting & Toasting‘s Seth to the “synchronous menstrual cycle” of a field hockey squad, let’s instead turn our attentions to the happier topic of former Knicks enforcer Charles Oakley.
(l-r : John Starks, insulting the chef, Vanessa Fraction, the Association’s most famous wingman)
Oak’s new straight-to-the-web cooking program, “Cafe Oakley” manages to (in the words of it’s co-creator..Jayson Williams!) “hip checks Emeril, blows by Rachel Ray and posterizes The Naked Chef!” Or, as the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola puts it, “I don’t think you’ve really lived yet until you see Oakley making fried chicken for Walter Berry.”
Oakley learned to cook from his mother, whose famous soul food fed many NBA players over the years. Even after Oakley was traded from the Chicago Bulls, his mother would cook for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen when the Bulls came to Cleveland.
Two nights before the 1997 All-Star Game in Cleveland, Oakley invited the Knicks beat writers to his mother’s house for a party. The food was terrific but what I remember most about the party was the bedroom that Oakley’s mother kept for her son. On the walls of Oakley’s room were posters of him with the Knicks and Bulls.
Oakley is picky about his food. Once during training camp in Charleston, S.C. he sent his lunch back to the kitchen three times until the catfish was cooked just right. The good folks at the famous Jestine’s Kitchen were more than happy to accommodate him.
Oakley even uses food analogies for some of his famous saying. A few weeks after the Charlotte Hornets traded Alonzo Mourning to the Miami Heat, Oakley was taunting the Hornets locker room attendant that Charlotte was no longer a contender.
“How you gonna cook without a stove in the kitchen?” Oakley repeated over and over.