Latest Bull: After Chicago's upset loss to Philadelphia, the 76ers' Charles Barkley ripped buddy Michael Jordan, saying: "I don't like it when people disrespect another team. Their best player goes out and plays golf at 7 o'clock when he's got a 2:30 game. I would have gotten killed for that." . . . Four days later, Jordan explained that the Bulls slowed the pace against the Indiana Pacers because Bill Cartwright is "kind of old" and "some of us have tired legs." . . . The Bulls have lost five in a row to winning teams. Also, management renewed its pursuit of Yugoslavia's Toni Kukoc but refused to negotiate with upcoming unrestricted free agent John Paxson, who put his house up for sale.
Detroit went 1-3 with inspirational leader Isiah Thomas back from wrist surgery against his surgeon's recommendation. Fumed Thomas: "We're addicted to losing. Nobody seems to care whether we win or lose--the players or the coaches. It doesn't even hurt when we lose. Nobody gives a . . . " The Pistons suggest privately it may be advantageous to finish behind the Milwaukee Bucks, so they can meet the Bulls, whom they have dominated, in the second round. Can you spell r-a-t-i-o-n-a-l-i-z-a-t-i-o-n?
You could rap Benoit Benjamin for his juvenile display of obscene gestures in response to the booing at the Sports Arena but what's the point? Ben is what he always was--overmatched by the world around him. The NBA fined him $1,500. The SuperSonics fined him an undisclosed amount and ordered him to apologize.. . . Mad Max, the Rude Warrior: Houston's Vern Maxwell, who just threatened to walk out if his contract wasn't renegotiated, protested a technical foul by spitting 20 feet across the court. All three referees missed it, and Maxwell didn't hit anyone or he'd have been whisked off to Commissioner David Stern's office for the Barkley lecture.
Staying too long at the fair: Sacramento charmer Dick Motta, railing at press inquiries about the Kings' record-tying 34th road loss in a row: "It's your subject. You'll make up the comments. You always do. We lose because the other teams score more points than we do. That's why." If that was all there was to it, the Kings wouldn't have to pay Motta $400,000 a year. . . . More from Motta, whose list of dislikes extends to players-only meetings: "I don't know what they do in those team meetings. But it's the fashionable thing to do. You put on your earring and have a meeting." . . . The question is not what Motta is doing in this business but how he lasted so long.