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Jordan, Barkley Skip the 50 Greatest Event

Associated Press

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest of the NBA’s 50 greatest players, skipped their historic first gathering Friday with his buddy, Charles Barkley.

The consensus among those who showed up was that Jordan and Barkley were on the links, trying to determine who’s the greatest golfer.

“They’re probably playing golf right now as we speak,” said Billy Cunningham, who coached Barkley at Philadelphia.

Being fashionably late to All-Star weekend has become a Jordan and Barkley tradition. They skipped media day in San Antonio last year and paid $10,000 fines.

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Jordan and Barkley weren’t the only no-shows; they were simply the only expected ones. Among those not seen at the meeting with the media were Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, George Gervin, Dave Bing and Hal Greer.

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Looking at the bright side, it’s already a record-setting All-Star game.

Five all-stars--O’Neal, Barkley, Ewing, Clyde Drexler and Alonzo Mourning--will miss Sunday’s game because of injuries, breaking the old record of three set in 1962. The replacements for injured players in the Western Conference are Detlef Schrempf, Kevin Garnett and Chris Gatling. The Eastern Conference replacements are Chris Webber and Joe Dumars.

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