Basketball: Barkley on guard for trouble

Basketball
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The Independent Online
Charles Barkley has decided not to retire from basketball after his latest bar-room brawl, but the National Basketball Association put new rules in place yesterday for the Houston Rockets' forward.

"The league put new guidelines in my life," he said after meeting with NBA officials. "I have to bring security guards with me every time I go out. It's unfortunate."

Barkley threw a man through a window during a confrontation in Orlando last weekend after Barkley had a drink thrown at him.

Before yesterday's meeting, Barkley said he might retire if the NBA punished him or made him promise not to retaliate against abusive fans. But after a 90-minute meeting with the deputy commissioner Russ Granik, Barkley thanked the league for backing him.

"The league was very supportive of me. They understand where I am coming from," he said. "But when I get arrested, it's embarrassing for me and for the league."

He flew back to Houston after the meeting and said he hoped to play in last night's game against Cleveland.

Barkley said he wants to continue playing but he is concerned about the increase in confrontations. "The situation is escalating," he said, "and sooner or later, something bad is going to happen. I just want to play basketball and be left alone."

Barkley, 34, is in the final year of a six-year contract that would pay him about $2.5m (pounds 1.53) this season.

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