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Thursday, May 4, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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NBA Notes: Barkley says he has lost $10M

BRISTOL, Conn. — Charles Barkley says he has a gambling problem, estimating in an interview that he has lost about $10 million over the years.

"My agent has really worked with me to try to get it where I can go and gamble and have fun," Barkley told ESPN on Wednesday. "That's easier said than done. Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem. But I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble."

Barkley said he's not concerned about his habit because he has enough money to cover his losses, though he did say he hoped to wager less money.

"When I gamble, I should be playing $1,000 a hand instead of $20,000 a hand; because if I played for $1,000 a hand, I probably could lose $50,000 to $100,000 instead of millions of dollars," Barkley said. "And I've got to reach a happy medium because I've told all of the people in my life that, first and foremost, it's my money."

Barkley said the thrill of competition has a lot to do with his urge to wager.

"I like to gamble, and I'm not going to quit," he said. "I've just got to get it under control."

Barkley, elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame last month, averaged 22.1 points and nearly 12 rebounds in a 16-year career that included stops in Philadelphia, Phoenix and Houston.

Barkley is the second well-known sports figure to admit to problem gambling recently. Golfer John Daly said in his upcoming autobiography that he has lost between $50 million and $60 million over the past 12 years and that gambling could "flat-out ruin" him if he doesn't bring it under control.

Wade expects to play

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade's hip was still bothering him Wednesday, even after another round of painkillers, ultrasound therapy and ice packs. Still, he vowed to be ready when the Miami Heat visits Chicago with a chance to end the Bulls' season in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference first-round series today.

"In a close-out game, you think of it as do-or-die," said Wade, who was injured Tuesday in Miami's 92-78 Game 5 victory. "You don't want to take it to that seventh game or that next game. So in close-out games, you want to come out and give it your all on both ends of the floor."

Heat coach Pat Riley said, "From what I understand, this is not an injury that's structural. He's got a bruise. Everybody in this gym is bruised. He took a hard fall. I don't think it's the kind of injury that's going to keep him out."

Notes

• The NBA suspended Phoenix guard Raja Bell for one game for throwing Kobe Bryant to the floor in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns will be without Bell for Game 6 tonight in Los Angeles.

• Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki was fined $15,000 and assessed a flagrant foul penalty two for a foul against Memphis' Pau Gasol in the final game of Dallas' first-round series sweep.

• Cleveland forward Luke Jackson will undergo surgery on his back today, the second operation in less than two years for the former first-round draft choice out of Oregon.

• Los Angeles police said Kwame Brown has not yet been interviewed about allegations that the Lakers center was involved in a sexual assault.

Harold "Bunny" Levitt, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1930s, died Sunday of natural causes, his wife said. He was 96.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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