Charles Oakley Signed With the Wizards in 2002 Just to Spend More Time With His ‘Best Friend’ Michael Jordan

Charles Oakley has always been good friends with Michael Jordan. He was teammates with the Hall of Famer on the Chicago Bulls for his first three seasons in the NBA, and the two have maintained a strong relationship ever since.

So when Oakley was deciding on which team to sign with in 2002, he chose to go to the Washington Wizards solely because Jordan was already on the roster.

Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley teamed up on the Wizards in 2002

Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley are best friends.
Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley of the Washington Wizards sit on the sidelines during a game against the Toronto Raptors in 2002 | Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Oakley is most remembered for his 10 seasons with the New York Knicks. The big man made his one and only All-Star appearance in 1994 with the Knicks, and he had his most fruitful years while playing in the Big Apple.

But Oakley still played for four other teams during his lengthy NBA career. He was drafted in 1985 by the Bulls and spent three seasons in Chicago before joining the Knicks in 1988. After his decade-long stint in New York, Oakley played for the Toronto Raptors for three seasons, the Bulls for another, the Wizards for one year, and the Houston Rockets in the last year of his career.

In 2002, Oakley signed with the Wizards and teamed up with Jordan for the second time. Washington went 37-45 and failed to make the playoffs, but Oakley didn’t join the Wizards with dreams of a championship in mind.

Charles Oakley only joined the Wizards to spend time with Michael Jordan

By 2002, Oakley was 39 years old and staring retirement right in the face. He knew he couldn’t contribute to a contender the way he used to, so he took a different route with his free agency decision.

In a recent interview on the Pardon My Take podcast, Oakley admitted he decided to join the Wizards just to spend time with Jordan, whom he considers his best friend.

“That was just for, you know, a ride through the park and ride on the boat,” Oakley said. “You know, ride to the game with him, you know, ride on the plane with him.

“That’s what they try to say. He brought me in so I can, you know, Kwame, this and that. It was a lot of stuff with the MJ and Kwame story, and they didn’t want to pick him, and they picked him, and they didn’t really want him. So, you know, it was fun though, because the next year, his 40th birthday in DC, and I cooked twice for like 40 people, two nights in a row.”

Still best friends today

Oakley also admitted on the podcast appearance that Jordan is still his best friend today. He said the two regularly go golfing together and talk almost every day. The two are such good friends, in fact, that Jordan decided to write the foreward for Oakley’s upcoming memoir: “The Last Enforcer: Outrageous Stories From the Life and Times of One of the NBA’s Fiercest Competitors.”

The former NBA player said the stories in his book are some of the greatest tales from his career that he’s never told publicly. Considering he was teammates with Jordan for a few seasons and spent plenty of time with him on and off the court, this should be juicy.

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