Former NBA All-Stars Charles Barkley and Charles Oakley never liked one another. Never was that more evident than when they got into this fight during a preseason game in 1996:
While those two instances are examples that occurred in full-view of the public, Oakley also once open-hand slapped Barkley prior to a union meeting during the 1998-99 NBA lockout. That story was relayed by ex-NBA champion Chucky Brown on the Jerseys and Dress Shirts podcast on Monday. As Brown tells it:
"We had a lockout in '99. So the players' union decides to fly all the players up to [Atlantic City] as a sign of solidarity... so I'm standing in the hallway talking to [Hakeem Olajuwon] about our days in Houston. Barkley was next to me talking to this white guy, I don't know who the white guy was or what he was doing there. He might've been a lawyer or something.
"So I look down the hall and I see Derrick Coleman, Anthony Mason, and Charles Oakley. Back in the day those were three of the guys you didn't want to mess with. I see Oakley coming and it looks like he's looking at me. Barkley is standing [right next to me]. Oakley and I had gotten into something on the court so I'm thinking like, 'Damn, I don't wanna fight this dude. But if I gotta do it I gotta do it.'
"He walks past me, he walks up to Charles Barkley and is like 'Yo, what was all that sh*t you were saying?' And so Barkley just kind of looked at him. And Oakley just *bam* open-hand slapped him. I jumped back! I'm like, 'Oooh, it's going to be on now.' These are like old school mammoths."
So much for displaying solidarity. You may be wondering, how exactly did Barkley respond to that? Well, surprising non-violently. "Barkley just kind of started talking back to this guy that he was talking to," Brown said. "Derrick Coleman and Anthony Mason grabbed him and shoved him into the meeting where we was going."
That same tale was essentially confirmed when The New York Daily News reported on it, oh, about 18 years ago. As they put it back in 1999:
"The unofficial start to the NBA season came sometime Wednesday afternoon when Charles Oakley said he belted his longtime nemesis Charles Barkley in the face during the players union meeting. 'I heard what he was saying about me in Atlantic City and I didn't like it,"'Oakley said last night. 'I'm fed up with him. 'I told him you need to change your name. I'm the only Charles.' [...]
"Oakley claims Barkley plays the punk when he tries to be friendly off the court. 'He did that the other day,' Oakley said. 'He thought everything was cool, but I'm not his friend. Then everybody grabbed us.'
"Oakley allegedly slapped Barkley across the face and the two were quickly separated by the Knicks' Chris Mills and Indiana's Antonio Davis."
Brown's entire interview will air on Friday, Jan. 13, if you're interested.