Barkley says he’ll retire from TV after 2024-25

NBA

Charles Barkley says next season will be his final one on TV.

Barkley, part of the highly popular, award-winning “Inside the NBA” studio show, said Friday night that the 2024-25 season will be his last with TNT and that he won’t be joining any other network beyond that, either.

“I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT,” Barkley said on NBATV following the Dallas Mavericks‘ Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night. “But I have made the decision that no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family. You guys have been great to me. My heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

The NBA has been negotiating its next media rights deals, which would begin in the 2025-26 season. While the league hasn’t announced what the deals will look like, Disney/ABC/ESPN, Amazon, NBC and Warner Bros. Discovery have been vying for what’s reported to be three available packages of games and affiliated content worth an estimated $76 billion to the league over a decade.

If Warner Bros. Discovery is the odd media company out, it would mean the end of games on TNT and no more “Inside the NBA.”

“I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me … I wanted to tell my NBATV and TNT family that I’m not going to another network, but I’m going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter or you Steve (Smith),” Barkley said.

“But next year, I’m going to just retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you. And I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

Ahead of the NBA Finals, commissioner Adam Silver called the media rights process “incredibly complex” based on the technology involved (broadcast, cable and streaming), the competing bidders and a timeline stretching into an unpredictable future.

Asked about the potential end of the Sports Emmy Award-winning “Inside the NBA,” with host Ernie Johnson and former players Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Barkley, if WBD’s contract with the league next spring ended, Silver said he sympathized with the situation.

“[To] the folks at Turner Sports, I apologize that this has been a prolonged process, because I know they’re committed to their jobs,” he said. “It’s a large part of their identity and their family’s identity, and no one likes this uncertainty. I think it’s on the league office to bring these negotiations to a head and conclude them as quickly as we can.”

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