Charles Barkley will retire from television after next year, ‘whatever happens’

Amid an uncertain future for NBA coverage on TNT, Charles Barkley said he will retire after next year.

“I made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year will be my last year on television,” Barkley said Friday on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals. “I want to thank my NBA family. … My heart is full of joy and gratitude, but I’m going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays on TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you to hear it from me.”

Next year will be Barkley’s 25th time working in broadcasting. The NBA Hall of Famer said he has spoken to other networks and plans to stay with TNT until his retirement.

“I really love TNT, all the people who work here, NBA Television. You guys have been great to me for 24 years,” Barkley said. “You know, there’s been a lot of noise around our network in recent months.”

TNT Sports’ future with the NBA remains in limbo, with part of the NBA’s next television rights deal still up for grabs. ESPN will pay $2.6 billion per season for the NBA finals and conference finals in an upcoming deal, while Amazon Prime Video will receive a conference finals every other year and is expected to be around $1.8 billion per year. The Athletics Previously reported.

NBC is the favorite for the last part of the TV rights. If Warner Bros. Discovery does not retain the rights to the NBA, the 2024-25 season will be the last for “Inside the NBA” – a show with a 35-year history – on TNT.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple,” Barkley said on “The Dan Patrick Show” in May about Warner Bros.’ apparent losing hand. Discovery in negotiations for upcoming NBA media rights. “I just feel sorry for the people I work with. These people have families and I really feel sorry for them right now. You know the people I work with (management), they clearly screwed this up. We have no idea what’s going to happen.”

Barkley, 61, joined TNT’s “Inside the NBA” in 2000 after a 16-year NBA career. Since coming to the show, he has worked with Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal joined in 2011, rounding out one of the most beloved sports studio shows.

Barkley also works for CBS Sports covering college basketball.

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(Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)