Dancing With the Stars' 29th season premieres on Monday night, putting another group of celebrities on the dance floor. NBA legend Charles Oakley is among this group, joining Derek Hough, Vernon Davis and other contestants. Here's what to know about the former New York Knicks player.
A first-round pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, Oakley technically landed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the team traded his rights to the Chicago Bulls. He immediately made an impact with the Windy City team, serving as a protector for a young Michael Jordan. His performance on the court led to All-Rookie First Team honors in 1986, as well as the nickname of "Oak Tree." However, Oakley only remained with the Bulls until a trade sent him to the New York Knicks in 1988.
Oak Tree spent most of his career in New York, partnering with Patrick Ewing and earning one trip to the All-Star Game. He built a reputation as a defensive specialist during his time with the Knicks while averaging 10.4 points per game and ten rebounds per game throughout his 10-year stint. Following a decade with the Knicks, Oakley finished out his career with stints in Toronto (1998-2001), Chicago again (2001-2002), Washington (2002-2003) and Houston (2003-2004). He later retired from the NBA at the end of the 2004 season.
While Oakley created a fanbase in New York with his play on the court, he butted heads with the franchise following his retirement. Back in 2017, former NBA player Charles Oakley received a ban after an incident at the arena in which he got into a shoving match with security. The longtime Knicks enforcer had purchased his own tickets to a game against the Clippers, and his seats just happened to be right behind team owner James Dolan. The former NBA player reportedly yelled at Dolan before his removal — although he later said he was innocent.
Following the security team physically removing him from the arena, authorities charged Oakley with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing. He was also cited for two additional counts of harassment. Although those were considered noncriminal violations.
Oakley later accepted a plea deal that removed all of the charges, provided he remains out of trouble for six months and stay away from MSG for an entire year. This wasn't a concern at the time considering that Oakley said he had "no plans" to go to MSG.0comments
Season 29 of Dancing With the Stars airs on Monday night. Tyra Banks will take over as the new host, replacing Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. The new season will debut with a two-hour season premiere beginning at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Monday night's premiere will feature a major change considering that fans will not vote on the opening routines. The show will also not include an elimination, as Week 1 dances will only be scored by the judges. Those scores will be combined with Week 2's scores and audience votes to determine the first elimination of the season, which will happen during the season’s second episode on Tuesday, Sept. 22.