What they're saying about the NBA deal

January 07, 1999

"I'm so relieved, it's unbelievable. It's like I let a balloon out of my stomach. The knots are already loosening up in my neck." -- George Karl, Milwaukee Bucks coach (above)

"You have to remember Chicago is not a basketball town -- it's a Jordan town. With Jordan gone, the United Center will be half full and we will all start watching hockey." -- Bob Bilina, Chicago resident, on Michael Jordan's possible retirement

"The negotiations would have been done months ago, but posturing was more important than progress." -- Bison Dele, the ex-Maryland player formerly known as Brian Williams, of the Detroit Pistons

"This was a joke all along. A lot of us never understood what we were fighting for in the first place. I'm glad we came to our senses." -- Chris Anstey, Dallas Mavericks forward

"Maybe they needed an earlier drop-dead date." -- Mike Dunleavy, Portland Trail Blazers coach

"If [fans] want to boo, they have every right to." -- Steve Kerr, Chicago Bulls guard

"It's going to be very hard for the players to come out of this looking good." -- Matt Guokas, NBC analyst and former NBA coach

"We can't put a bandage on what both sides have done. We must sew it up in the 40 or so games remaining and let the fans fall back in love with the game." -- Terry Cummings, New York Knicks forward

"I wouldn't blame the fans if they didn't come back." -- Jeff Hornacek, Utah Jazz guard

"We are all family again. Guys are wearing buttons with `Solid' written on them. This game won't have to go through something like this again for seven more years. And hopefully, I'll be retired then." -- Jayson Williams, New Jersey Nets forward

"Overall, the deal is just God-awful. It is the worst deal negotiated by a union in professional sports history, as far as I'm concerned." -- Dan Fagen, Los Angeles-based agent

"We stepped on some people's toes. That's a part of negotiation. We upset some people. But we did what we thought was the best for the masses." -- Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat center and union vice president

"It means Kevin Garnett is not going to play on our city league team. I don't know where we're going to find another 7-footer." -- Dan Ohme, who plays basketball at the same health club as the Minnesota Timberwolves star

"You got a ball on you? If you do, I'll go outside and play on the street right now. That's how happy I am." -- Nick Anderson, Orlando Magic guard

"What's the best thing about all this? That it's signed, that's what. I'm glad we got everything settled before there was a free-for-all. It could have been bad." -- Charles Barkley, free-agent forward

"I was going to college games, but it was like studying without having any tests. Those are the games." -- John Calipari, Nets coach

"Did we blink? I guess we both blinked." -- Billy Hunter, players union union executive director

"Guys can still make $14 million. If you can't live off that, something's wrong." -- Kevin Willis, Raptors forward

"The nightmare is over." -- Spike Lee, filmmaker and fan

Pub Date: 1/07/99

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