Charles Barkley apologized to NBC's Hannah Storm at halftime for remarks he made during the Western Conference Finals.
Barkley, in a tirade directed at Storm after she allegedly took his comments out of context and said he was pointing fingers at his Houston teammates, said women reporters had no business covering men's sports."It was stupid and sexist and said in jest," Barkley told Storm during a halftime interview. "I want to apologize to you and all the women journalists out there. Keep up the good work."
Barkley, who has one year remaining on his contract at a salary of $2 million, has been the subject of early-summer trade rumors. But he said he is leaning toward coming back for another season with the Rockets.
"In fairness, that's still a lot of money. I haven't made a final decision but I'm leaning toward playing. I've got the greatest coaching staff in the world, the fans of Houston have opened their arms to me and I'm thinking very seriously about playing next year.
"I'm going to sit down with the owner and Coach T in the next three weeks and make a final decision. At this stage in my life, unless I feel we can win a championship, there's no sense in playing."
CENTERS OF ATTENTION: Lost in the hubbub over Jordan overcoming the flu and Malone playing so poorly was the fact that both centers had their best games of the series.
Luc Longley of Chicago shot 6-for-7 for 12 points. He also had four rebounds and scored the deciding points on an uncontested dunk with 6.2 seconds left after the Jazz failed to commit a foul to stop the clock.
Greg Ostertag of Utah had an even better game, scoring a series-high 13 points with 15 rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes.
"Greg played great, and at times he doesn't know how good he can really be," Malone said. "When that fellow decides to put games like that back-to-back, he's going to be a hell of a center in this league."
THIS 'N THAT: By losing Game 5, Utah failed to become the first home team to sweep the three middle games since the NBA went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985. Three road teams have swept the three middle games: Chicago in 1991, Detroit in 1990 and Fort Wayne in 1955.