CHARLOTTE, FEB. 10 -- Bernard King should not get in the prognostication business. We take you back to Thursday night, in an empty Washington Bullets locker room, when King was discussing the upcoming Sugar Ray Leonard-Terry Norris fight.

"Sugar's definitely going to win," he said then. "No question about it. No disrespect to Norris, but Sugar Ray Leonard is a very talented man. More importantly, I've watched him fight. And when a lot of people didn't think he would have the ability to win, his intelligence allowed him to win. That's why he'll win this fight.

"He may not have the same physical skills he once had but he knows the game of boxing. I enjoy watching people that may not jump as high or jab as quickly but use their minds to offset the speed of what's going on. There's a lot to be said for that because a lot of people don't have the ability to do that." . . .

King's physician, Norman Scott, was in the locker room before today's all-star game. The two didn't really get a chance to sit down and discuss their intertwined fates.

"He had meetings, we had meetings," King said. "We had places we were supposed to be. We were not able to do that. We tried to touch bases this morning but we missed one another. But we talked here before the game for quite some time. It was really fantastic to reflect back on how many people didn't think {playing in another all-star game following a serious knee injnury six years ago} was going to occur."

Now that his dream is accomplished, King has the relatively dull task of playing the second half of the season for the Bullets.

"I get tomorrow off, I know that," King said. "I'll be ready Tuesday." A Windless Windmill

Dominique Wilkins had the day's lowlight. Late in the first quarter he broke free on a breakaway and prepared for one of his trademark, windmill dunks. But he didn't get high enough and bonked the ball off the front rim. Even worse, he did it right in front of the West bench, which nearly fell over laughing.

"I ran out of gas," Wilkins said. "My takeoff was good, but I had trouble getting off the ground." . . .

Saturday night's dunk contest gave the country a chance to see Dee Brown pump his shoes four times in winning the slam-dunk contest.

"It was something I thought of myself, just to get the mind working," Brown said. "A guy 6-1, getting ready to dunk, and he pumps up the shoes, just like the commercial you see . . . that was my personal taste." Honoring the Troops

Before the game, which was dedicated to the troops serving in the Persian Gulf and their families, two ribbons were placed around each basket support -- one by Hornets forward Johnny Newman, whose brother is serving overseas, and one by Cavaliers' center Brad Daugherty, who has two cousins participating in Operation Desert Storm. . . .

Barkley, who got 10 of 11 MVP votes, hoped the weekend provided the necessary diversion.

"No matter what happened here, we could all get out and do our thing tomorrow," Barkley said. "Those guys over there are life and death. Hopefully for the last two hours they've enjoyed themselves and forgotten about Insane Hussein and all that other stuff."