NBA legend Charles Oakley is joining the cast of Dancing With the Stars season 29 to compete for the mirror ball trophy. Oakley is one of two former professional athletes competing this year; NFL tight end Vernon Davis is also a part of the cast.
Whenever a professional basketball player takes the DWTS ballroom, they quite literally stand out due to their height. Oakley will be no exception because, according to the Basketball Reference website, Oakley is 6’8″ tall.
While certainly the tallest star this season, Oakley is also one of the oldest. Oakley was born on December 18, 1963, which means he is currently 56 years old (he will turn 57 at the end of this year).
Oakley Played in the NBA for 19 Seasons
Although he may not have a background in dance, Oakley certainly knows what it means to be a competitor. Oakley played in the NBA for a total of 19 seasons from 1984 until his retirement in 2004. He played for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and Houston Rockets. Oakley never received an NBA title, but he did earn the coveted honor of NBA All-Star, making an appearance in one All Star game during his 20-year career in 1994.
After he was announced as part of the Dancing With the Stars season 29 cast on Good Morning America, Oakley revealed that he’s only about 5 pounds above the weight he was in the NBA, suggesting he’s in shape and ready to compete. According to Landofbasketball.com, he weighed 225 when he was playing professional basketball.
Oakley’s Female Pro Will Have to Adjust Her Teaching & Partner Dance Approach to Suit His Height
While Oakley’s dance partner for the DWTS season will not be revealed until the premiere night, we know that whoever she is, his height will be an obstacle she’ll need to figure out how to overcome when it comes to choreographing, teaching, and executing their dances.
Professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd has experience competing with a former NBA star as her partner; in 2019 she was paired with Lamar Odom, who is 6′ 10″ (just 2 inches taller than Oakley). In a guest piece for People, Murgatroyd reflected back on what was going through her head when she found out she was partnered with such a tall star. She wrote, “There were so many thoughts running through my mind when I found out that we were paired together. What will it be like dancing, let alone standing, next to somebody so tall? His height is something that I have not experienced before. How am I going to make this work? He is about a foot and 3 inches taller than me and I’ve seen past competitors on the show struggle with extreme height differences. What techniques will I use on him? How am I going to make him graceful? Faced with so much uncertainty, there was one thing that I knew for sure: my teaching would have to change.”
Dancing With the Stars season 29 premieres on Monday, September 14 at 8/7c on ABC.