"He hit me [earlier], I hit him," said Barkley, who had completed eight seasons with the 76ers and was preparing for his first season with the Phoenix Suns. "You guys don't understand that. It's a ghetto thing."
In the days leading up to the game, Angola coach Victorino Dasilva Cunha said beating the Dream Team was "impossible. I'm not crazy. My goal is to keep [the differential] below 45 points."
It ended up being 68. The U.S. had runs of 31-0 and 46-1, the latter interrupted only by a free throw after Barkley's flagrant foul.
But Cunha insisted he had no problem with Barkley or the errant elbow.
"I know that [he] does the same thing in the NBA," Cunha said. "No problem. We're not angry at this wrong movement."
In fact, the game was viewed as something of a celebration in Angola, where Cunha said roughly 10 million people would watch on TV. It was considered a moment of pride for a country that had been torn apart by a civil war that stretched from 1975 to 1991.
As for Coimbra, he absorbed the "elbow" and took it as a badge of honor, saying, "I thought we'd have lost by 80."
He also said Barkley was "my favorite forward."
"He is a master player," Coimbra said. "If I make violence with him, it's best to get out of the violence. Violence is not sports. The word of these games, if I remember, is 'friends forever.' "
International incident? Not exactly.
"After the game," Coimbra said, "we talked, we took a picture."
- Phil Jasner