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″Wilt and Dr. J.” _ Houston’s Charles Barkley, a former 76er,

January 17, 1997 GMT

``Wilt and Dr. J.″ _ Houston’s Charles Barkley, a former 76er, on what the current Philadelphia 76ers need to improve.

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``Until Dennis can provide meaningful assurances that he will conform his conduct on the playing court to acceptable standards _ including not placing others at physical risk _ his suspension will continue.″ _ NBA commissioner David Stern, announcing that the Bulls’ Dennis Rodman has been suspended without pay for at least 11 games for kicking a courtside photographer.

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``We’re jelling now. There’s only one team better than we are now, and that’s the Bulls.″ _ New York center Patrick Ewing, three days before the Knicks lost 106-86 to Houston.

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``It’s that steroid thing. He goes crazy at times.″ _ Houston’s Charles Barkley, on being asked about New York forward Charles Oakley’s animosity toward him.

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``(The Packers) make you feel like there is still some good in sport. When you see the Packers players jump into the stands, it’s almost like you’re tapping them on the shoulder.″ _ Wisconsin native Dan Crean, who still flies the Green Bay flag outside his Canterbury home, even after living in New Hampshire for 22 years.

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``I’m a really old Packer fan. A lot of my friends brag they were at Woodstock and I say, `Oh yeah? I was at the Ice Bowl!′ ″ _ Betsy Brauer, a Lynn, Mass., resident and Packers fan.

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``Basically, there was a sense and a feel that there needs to be some changes made. I came back with the feeling that this was best for myself and for the 49ers. This thing eventually had to come to an end. It’s been a great eight years in a tough position.″ _ George Seifert, announcing his retirement as coach of the 49ers.

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``Everybody knew that around the locker room. No matter if it was coaching staff or player-wise, personnel-wise, scouting-wise, something had to change. There was something in the mix that just wasn’t right.

``We players knew that. We knew that something was going to happen. We didn’t know it was going to be George.″ _ San Francisco defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield about George Seifert retiring as coach of the 49ers.

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``It’s easy to talk negatively about something when you’re leaving. Everywhere you’re at, you’re going to find things you don’t like.″ _ Steve Avery, after signing with the Boston Red Sox.

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``My brain is like scrambled eggs right now.″ _ Boris Becker, exhausted after his loss to Carlos Moya in scorching heat in the first round of the Australian Open.

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``If this fight does its potential, Evander should make more than $40 million.″ _ Jim Thomas, Evander Holyfield’s attorney, about the boxer’s payday for the May 3 rematch with Mike Tyson.

End advance for Jan. 18-19