Make no mistake about it, Charles Barkley says, mess with him and you will pay for it. So, it seems, will he.
The Houston Rockets star was released on $6,000 bond after he hurled an unruly bar patron through a plate-glass window.Barkley was charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest without violence, police said. He was jailed for five hours before being being released.
The 20-year-old patron, Jorge Lugo, was treated at a hospital for a minor laceration to his upper right arm.
Barkley, who has been involved in several incidents in bars and nightclubs over the past five years, said that Lugo threw a glass of ice at him unprovoked and that he was only protecting himself.
"I feel like I'm always a target, but I'm never going to back down," Barkley said Sunday before a preseason game with the Orlando Magic.
"I don't think that just because I'm a famous person I should have people come up . . . and throw ice at my face, hit my party for no reason."
The fight at Phineas Phogg's bar began as the bar was clearing out early Sunday.
Barkley told police that Lugo threw a glass of ice at him and three women who were sitting at his table. 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, according to a police report.
"He lifted that kid up and flung him like he was a toy and threw him into the window. He broke the whole glass," said Jerry Colon, a witness.
Barkley, however, said it was more like a push and Lugo fell back into the window.
Police said the Houston Rockets star told the victim as he lay bleeding on the ground: "You got what you deserve. You don't respect me. I hope you're hurt."
According to the police report, an officer on the scene separated Barkley from Lugo, but Barkley went back and said, "For all I care, you can lay there and die."
Barkley then left, but he was arrested a half-block away.
Barkley was ejected from Sunday night's game midway through the fourth quarter after he sent the ball flying into the stands with a motion like an underhand volleyball serve. He had eight points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Rockets spokesman Tim Frank said team officials would discuss the fight with Barkley before deciding what to do.