Charles Oakley riffs on Knicks, Kyrie Irving vaccination and a new cooking show

NEW YORK — At opinionated Charles Oakley, the Knicks are asking questions about their sophomore season under Tom Thibodeau.

And it starts with Julius Randle.

“I’ve always said they haven’t had a star player since Carmelo. Now they have a star,” Oakley told the Daily News. “But there are a lot of teams that have stars, so can this star take it to the next level? I do not know. Can he win seven games more than last year? Was fool’s gold last year? You don’t want to go back to the seventh and eighth seeds when you were four years old.

Oakley’s assessment is common throughout the NBA. The Knicks remain an unknown. They topped last season and improved this summer, but the Eastern Conference is suddenly deep and it’s not outrageous to predict the Knicks in the play-in tournament.

Only about five months ago — as the Knicks headed for the fourth seed — Oakley qualified Randle better than Zion Williamson. But after Randle’s playoff misses against the Hawks, Oakley seemed to carry more skepticism.

“They don’t have a single guy you could put the ball in your hands,” he said. “I don’t know if they have that kind of All-Star. They have an All-Star, but what kind of All-Star? Are you an A, B, C. There are stages of All-Stars.

One issue the Knicks have already resolved is the vaccination mandate in New York. Their staff and players are 100% vaccinated, something the Nets couldn’t claim due to Kyrie Irving’s status. If Irving doesn’t get at least one shot, he’s unable to play home games.

New York and San Francisco are the only NBA markets with laws mandating vaccination for indoor gatherings. Oakley thinks the country and the NBA should adopt a blanket vaccination mandate, but said it’s unfair to isolate Irving or cut his salary if he doesn’t play.

(The NBA says it offered a vaccine mandate that was rejected by the players’ union).

“It’s in the contract. (Irving) healthy. He wants to play,” Oakley said. “They have to impose it in the country. Then it wouldn’t be a conversation.

Oakley is always comfortable voicing his opinions, especially on the Knicks, but was speaking out on Tuesday due to his expanding portfolio. In addition to releasing his memoir early next year (“The Last Enforcer”), Oakley is hosting a streaming show premiering Oct. 7. The show, titled “Chopping it Up with Charles Oakley,” is based on the Knicks legend’s second passion. – cooking.

The premise is that Oakley cooks up a meal requested by a celebrity guest — (he’s teased former NBAers Dominique Wilkens, Stephen Jackson, Jim Jackson and Steve Smith, as well as actresses LisaRaye McCoy and Jazmin Lewis) — and they spark a conversation . The show, produced by the For Us By Us network, will air on Fox Soul.

Oakley has a long history with the culinary arts. He used to cook for teammates in Chicago and Toronto (Knicks players lived too far apart for team meals). Among the consumers was Michael Jordan.

“Michael will eat anything. He’s not a picky eater like me,” Oakley said. “He likes pork chops, steak. Chicken thighs. Meats, not so much vegetables. And pie with apples. He loves apple pie.