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Charles Barkley Says He’ll Retire Before Leaving TNT

It’s called one of the funniest sports shows on television. ‘Inside the NBA’ featuring former NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley, may soon be closing up shop, if Sir Charles follows through on his latest promise.

ESPN reported that the Round Mound of Rebound announced that if he’s not on his current show after next year, he won’t be on any show.

“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.”

CNN recently tried to launch a talk show with Charles Barkley and Gayle King, hoping that the pair could revive the news channel’s fortunes, and in one episode King Charles appeared to tap back into his Republican roots, blasting Democrats for only “caring about Black people every four years.”

He continued, “And then finally us black people are like, ‘I don’t know, man, other than my ability to dunk a basketball, all my neighbors’ hoods are still the same, our schools are still the same, and that’s why I think Black people are leaving disappointed the Democratic Party.”

If Barkley really does leave television, he would be the second conservative-leaning star to retire in the past few weeks.

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