In the end the blather didn't amount to much, although it produced a funny moment in Game 4 when Barkley got in Malone's face and provoked his old Dream Teammate into committing a foul. "I knew he'd come after me," said Barkley later, laughing, "and I was ready to fall down if a breeze came up. I'm telling you, I almost hurt myself flopping so hard." Barkley got the call, the last laugh and all the press, as usual.
It's easy to understand Barkley's appetite for this attention and these last remaining victories. Behind his doomsday slapstick is a sad and obvious truth. Neither he nor the many friends and foes around him this week are likely to come this way again. Time really is running out. Things must be done now.