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Thursday, October 30, 1997
Barkley stung by criticism over bar fight,
hints at retirement
HOUSTON (AP) -- Charles Barkley, saying his young daughter
was being harassed by schoolmates over his arrest in Miami, told
several Houston reporters Wednesday he is "leaning toward
retirement" from basketball.
The Houston Rockets forward, who has missed two consecutive
practices, was in Phoenix Wednesday to mull over his future with
his wife, Maureen, and daughter, Christiana, according to several
Barkley contacted at least two television stations -- KHOU
and KTRK -- and also called the Houston Chronicle.
KHOU said Barkley reported being upset with harassment his
daughter was facing at elementary school in Phoenix.
Barkley also said he was upset that the NBA did not rule out
suspending him for the Sunday incident in which he was accused
of throwing a bar patron through a plate-glass window.
"Right now, I'm leaning toward retirement," the 11-time
NBA All-Star told the Houston Chronicle. "If the league is
not going to stand by me, then I'll just say thank you very much
and move on."
Barkley could not be reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday
NBA officials said in a conference call earlier Wednesday that
the league would take no action against Barkley until there was
some outcome in the Miami case.
Contacted late Wednesday, NBA spokesman Brian McIntyre said
he had not heard from Barkley about any retirement.
"Hopefully, this a heat-of-the-moment thought," McIntyre
told the AP.
Early last Sunday, Barkley was charged with aggravated battery
and resisting arrest after he allegedly threw a bar patron through
a window. Barkley told police the 20-year-old man, Jorge Lugo,
had thrown a glass of ice on the basketball star and three women
sitting with him.
Barkley chased Lugo to the front of the bar, where an off-duty
officer tried to intervene. But Barkley picked up Lugo and threw
him through the window.
Rockets spokesman Tim Frank said Barkley's absence from practice
was excused because of a family emergency.
"He had missed practices because ... he was having a family
crisis," Frank said. "When a family's involved, we always
consider family as a major part of everybody's life."
The Rockets open their season Friday against the Cleveland
Teammates said they hoped Barkley would join them.
"Everybody's getting ready to go," said Brent Price.
"We want all the pieces in place. What's important is that
he takes care of the business he has to take care of."
In August 1996, the Phoenix Suns traded Barkley to Houston
in a blockbuster deal. Barkley, who is in his 14th NBA season,
averaged 19.2 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists last season.
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