Charles Barkley to retire from TV after next year, ‘no matter what happens’

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

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

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

“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 the last few months.”

TNT Sports’ future with the NBA remains in limbo with one piece of the NBA’s next television rights deal still up for grabs. ESPN is set to 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 final every other year and is expected to be in the $1.8 billion-per-year range, The Athletic previously reported.

NBC is the favorite for the final share of TV rights. If Warner Bros. Discovery does not retain 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 regarding Warner Bros. Discovery’s seemingly losing hand in the negotiations for the upcoming NBA media rights. “I just feel so bad for the people I work with. These people have families and I just really feel bad for them right now. You know these people I work with (management), they screwed this thing up, clearly. We don’t have zero idea what’s going to happen.”

Barkley, 61, joined TNT’s “Inside the NBA” in 2000 after a 16-year NBA career. He has worked with Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith since coming to the show, 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)

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