This Ex-NBA Player Was Gambling In A Vegas Casino When A Camera Caught Him Engaging In A Dubious Act

Image: Las Vegas Police Department

Charles Oakley was renowned for being something of a bad boy during his 19-year playing career in the NBA. And the 6ft 8in star seems determined to keep up his reputation now that he’s off the court. Indeed, a recent trip to a Las Vegas casino landed Oakley in a whole lotta trouble.

Born in Cleveland in 1963, Charles Oakley studied at the Virginia Union University where he played basketball for its Division II team. In his senior year he averaged 17.3 rebounds per game, the best in the league. And upon graduating in 1985, Oakley was chosen as the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers before then being traded to the Chicago Bulls.

One of Oakley’s main roles with the Bulls was to act as a second option behind the emerging Michael Jordan. But Oakley also impressed with both his defense and his steady offensive play, achieving All-Rookie Team honors in 1986. And two years later he was traded to the New York Knicks for center Bill Cartwright.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakley subsequently became a pivotal member of the Knicks and impressed on defense. In the 1994 season he achieved a record-breaking 107 starts and was selected as an NBA All-Star. Then, in 1998, Oakley was traded to the Toronto Raptors for newcomer Marcus Camby. The Canadian team was looking for a proven leader to bring some experience to a largely youthful team.

Oakley played three seasons in the Great White North before returning to the Chicago Bulls in 2001. He then linked up with Michael Jordan again at the Washington Wizards a year later. Oakley finished his NBA playing career at the Houston Rockets in 2004. His per-game record included a points average of 9.7, a rebounds average of 9.5 and an assists average of 2.5.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Mitchell Leff/BIG3/Getty Images

And although a mooted NBA return as a player failed to materialize in 2007, Oakley did eventually come back to the league in 2010 in a coaching capacity. The star worked alongside head coach Paul Silas at the Charlotte Bobcats for 12 months, but he retired from his position following a series of back problems.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Oakley also pursued various business enterprises outside the NBA. A steakhouse chain, a Cleveland hair and nail salon, and several car wash centers were just a few of the ventures into which the star sank money. However, he didn’t leave basketball behind entirely. In 2017 Oakley signed on to both manage and play for the Killer 3’s in the BIG3, a 3-on-3 league mostly populated by retired NBA stars.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Al Bello/Getty Images for Spike TV

And that same year Oakley made headlines for an altercation at a game between the Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden (MSG). The star was charged with criminal trespassing and three counts of misdemeanor assault after reportedly refusing to stop harassing the venue’s executive chairman, James L. Dolan. Oakley claimed that he only became antagonistic when he was asked to exit the arena without reason.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Indeed, Oakley told ESPN’s The Undefeated that he was simply “minding his own business” at the game before MSG’s security team approached him. After asking him why he’d taken a seat so close to Dolan, they demanded that he walk out of the venue. However, Oakley did admit, “I shouldn’t have put my hands on anyone.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Oakley and Dolan’s beef began when the former joined the Knicks in 1988. The NBA star repeatedly criticized the MSG chairman both during and after the player’s spell with the franchise. In a February 2017 interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Oakley said, “He gets mad at the headlines. I don’t write the headlines. What am I supposed to say, they are goin’ to win 60 [games]?”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

Five days after the incident, Oakley and Dolan met at the NBA headquarters where they both issued apologies and talked of a truce. And Oakley’s swiftly-issued ban from MSG was just as swiftly rescinded as a result. However, in September that same year reports emerged that Oakley was planning to sue over the whole episode.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images

It wasn’t the first time Oakley had filed a lawsuit, either. Indeed, in 2011 he sued Las Vegas casino and hotel, the Aria Resort. The NBA star claimed that he’d been manhandled by five of the venue’s security guards the year before. And in 2018 Oakley found himself at the center of another unsavory incident at a Sin City casino.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: George Rose/Getty Images

You see, in July 2018 Oakley was arrested at Las Vegas casino The Cosmopolitan after being accused of attempting to commit gambling fraud. The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a statement which reported that the ex-NBA star was suspected of adding or reducing his wager on a particular game having already learned the outcome. The agency didn’t state which game was at the center of the drama, though.

ADVERTISEMENT

However, entertainment news website TMZ did speculate about the move which caused all the commotion. The portal reported that Oakley had taken back a chip worth $100 after realizing that his Ultimate Texas Hold ’Em wager wasn’t going to pay off. The star then reportedly tried to boost his winnings by placing bets on two other hands.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Artechvideo

TMZ also revealed how Oakley was allegedly busted. The site claimed that The Cosmopolitan witnessed proof of his fraudulent antics via footage from its surveillance cameras. It recounted how staff at the casino then alerted police who arrested the star and briefly placed him in jail.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

The felony of committing or attempting to commit a fraudulent act in a gaming establishment can lead to a jail sentence of up to six years as well as a $10,000 fine. However, Alex Spiro, Oakley’s attorney, was confident things wouldn’t escalate that far. He told NBC News in July 2018, “This is not a significant matter, and we expect it to be resolved quickly.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

And Spiro’s statement was backed up by Adam Solinger, a Las Vegas attorney. He told NBC News that unless “the cheating is more sophisticated,” it was rare for such matters to lead to a felony conviction. Instead a misdemeanor offense with a fine is typically the outcome in most such cases.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images

And this proved to be the case when Oakley pleaded no contest a month later to a disorderly conduct misdemeanor charge. In an official statement, the star’s attorneys, Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff, claimed the plea settled the incident completely. All of which meant that Oakley would avoid a stretch behind bars.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

“He appreciates the professionalism of the District Attorney and The Cosmopolitan in resolving this event,” Oakley’s attorneys added. And it wasn’t just jail time that Oakley escaped. Despite initial talk of a $10,000 fine, Oakley was reportedly ordered to pay just a tenth of that figure, according to TMZ.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Al Bello/Getty Images for Spike TV

Around the same time as the Las Vegas incident, Oakley also proved that he can still cause drama on the basketball court as well. You see, while coaching the Killer 3’s in the BIG3 league, the star had a 30-second stare-off with fellow baller Metta World Peace after telling the small forward to take the bench. Oakley eventually won the battle, though, when a visibly unhappy Peace caved in to his coach’s demand. It seems, then, that it’s hard to keep Oakley out of the spotlight.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT