Herlander Coimbra is nervous. He's the Angolan basketball player who was elbowed in the chest by Charles Barkley at the 1992 Olympics. Coimbra will suit up tonight against Barkley, and in true Olympic spirit Barkley has issued a warning. "I'm going to hit him the same way I did the first time. I have been lifting weights since the day the season ended and I am ready."
It's hard to imagine an Olympic athlete who adheres less to the Olympic ideal than Barkley.
On the U.S. team's mission: "We are here to prove we are the best country in the world," Barkley says. "We're the best at basketball. We have got to kill them all."
Barkley used the Dream Team's pre-tournament tune-up games to issue a few more international warnings. He hit Australian guard Shane Heal after Heal was upset at being undercut.
"He is a talkative little fellow," Barkley said. "I told him that if I don't take that off Americans, I'm definitely not going to take it off foreigners."
The Australian media asked Barkley if hitting Heal was a sign of respect. Barkley reassured them it was no such thing.
"I try to treat people equal," the ambassador of basketball said. "I try to hit everybody, and in that way I'm very consistent."
How do Barkley's teammates feel about their resident Bad Boy.
"He's a classy guy," Shaquille O'Neal said.
Class must be out for the summer.