Motta says he'll retire after season

December 24, 1991

Sacramento Kings coach Dick Motta, the losingest coach in NBA history, said yesterday that he will retire from basketball at the end of the season.

Motta, who coached the Washington Bullets to the NBA title in the 1977-78 season, made the announcement yesterday evening during a pre-game interview broadcast on KFBK radio.

Sacramento's record after last night's loss to the San Antonio Spurs is 7-18.

Motta set an NBA record with 862 losses Saturday with the Kings' defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

He has been unpopular with his players. Team captain Wayman Tisdale recently asked player personnel director Jerry Reynolds not to rehire Motta next season, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

* 76ERS: Forward Charles Barkley, known for his hard-charging attitude on court, wasn't shy about defending his role in a weekend altercation that ended with his arrest.

Barkley admitted he threw the punch that broke a Milwaukee man's nose early Sunday morning, but said he was defending himself.

Barkley was arrested about five hours after the 2:30 a.m. incident and released on $500 bail, police said.

"The man follows me for a block and a half, messes with me and harasses who I'm with," Barkley said yesterday at Philadelphia's practice. "I can only ignore so much, and I wasn't going to fight the guy. But when he walks up to me with his fist balled up saying he wants a shot at me, I'm going to defend myself. . . .

"It's unfortunate what happened," Barkley said. "I felt like I was defending myself. I don't think I'm wrong."

* SPURS: Rod Strickland has ended the longest holdout in team history, and owner Red McCombs hopes the criticism is history, too.

McCombs sent a letter to season ticket holders and sponsors yesterday saying Strickland's signing should alleviate concerns by angry fans that team management might not be interested in winning an NBA championship.

The Spurs didn't release terms, but Strickland is said to have agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. That ended his 80-day holdout, eight times longer than the previous team record, held by forward Frank Brickowski.

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