MOST ENGAGING PLAYER?

March 17, 1997

Imagine NBA players, coaches and executives stuck in an airport
for an hour without cellular phones. That, of course, would
never happen, but if it did, with whom would they most like to
kill that hour?

According to respondents in this week's poll, the answer is
resounding: Rockets forward Charles Barkley. Six players were
named on more than one ballot, but the Round Mound of Retort was
the easy winner, grabbing eight votes. "Never a dull moment with
Charles," said Phoenix coach Danny Ainge, a former teammate of
Barkley's.

Michael Jordan finished second, with four votes, though one G.M.
who voted for him said Jordan "probably wouldn't want to talk to
me." There was a four-way tie for third, with two votes each,
between Bulls center Robert Parish, Bulls forward Dennis Rodman,
Pistons guard Joe Dumars and Jazz forward Karl Malone. "He
[Malone] could tell you about the greatness and the toughness of
the league," said Magic G.M. John Gabriel. "And how to change
the 11th wheel on a 12-wheel truck."

Several players received one vote, including 76ers forward
Derrick Coleman, who was chosen by Atlanta guard Steve Smith.
"There's a lot more to Derrick than people know," Smith says.

--TIM KURKJIAN

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)