Barkley Cautions Young Rivals to Play Well First, Taunt Later

Phoenix Sun star Charles Barkley believes an NBA player must pay his dues before taunting opponents.

He is annoyed by what he has heard from young Golden State players during the best-of-five playoff series, which Phoenix leads, 2-0.

"I waited until I became a very good player before I talked trash, probably four or five years," Barkley told the Arizona Republic.

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Add Suns: Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that former Laker A.C. Green, now with the Suns, seems to get a little nastier on the court each year.

Warrior guard Latrell Sprewell agrees.

"He's just a dirty player," Sprewell told Jenkins. "He throws elbows, takes cheap shots. I've seen it on film, and now I'm seeing it on the court. Nothing new. It's not like somebody just told us."

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Trivia time: Which team has the best winning percentage in NBA playoff games?

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Forgotten: Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe on the Celtics' disappointing season: "No more Cheers for Boston basketball. The Garden now is where you go to play when nobody knows your name."

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Tonya's gig: Tonya Harding wasn't invited to the White House along with other Olympic athletes recently, but her signature is worth something--like $35.

That's what she charged in Portland at a show and sale for collectors. A few paid $15 for a signature on a 3 x 5 index card, but most waited for a signed 8 x 10 glossy photo.

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Robinson's legacy: More on standout basketball-track athletes. UCLA's Jackie Robinson fits that category--and more.

Robinson was a Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division first team player in basketball in 1940, the same year he won the NCAA long jump championship.

He was also an accomplished athlete in football and baseball at UCLA.

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Last word? Update on the NFL draft day argument between ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and General Manager Bill Tobin of the Indianapolis Colts:

"Within 24 hours after all that happened, 21 of the teams in the league had sent faxes to our office congratulating me for what happened," Tobin told Will McDonough of the Boston Globe.

"I think I just said what other teams felt. This guy has no credentials to rip people the way he does on that show and get away with it."

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Trivia answer: The Lakers, with a winning percentage of .598, .05 ahead of the Boston Celtics.

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Quotebook: Minnesota Twin slugger Kent Hrbek, when asked if there has been any positive sign in his team's terrible play this season: "The plane hasn't crashed."

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