Charles Barkley Makes Shocking Retirement Announcement

Charles Barkley, NBA
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley, a cherished personality on the acclaimed “Inside the NBA” studio show, announced that the upcoming 2024-25 season will be his final year on television.

As broadcasting rights remain in limbo for TNT, he announced plans to remain with the network but will retire after next season even if they retain broadcasting rights. He’d publicly grown frustrated with how the situation was unfolding before reaching this point.

“I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT,” Barkley said on NBA-TV on Friday. “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.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Charles Barkley Updates

As the playoffs unfold, with the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics facing off in the NBA Finals, the NBA continues negotiating media rights deals that would start in 2025-26.

TNT Sports praised Barkley as a “broadcasting icon” and an integral part of their team. “We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him,” the network said in a statement.

Many potential broadcast partners are pursuing rights deals with the NBA, including Disney/ABC/ESPN, Amazon, NBC, and Warner Bros. Discovery. The league is estimated to command $76 billion over ten years.

The outcome of these negotiations could potentially end TNT’s airing of NBA games and the beloved “Inside the NBA” show. Barkley wants his network to continue broadcasting games, but is ready to “pass the baton” to the next generation.

“I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me,” Barkley said. “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]. 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.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Charles Barkley Updates

NBA commissioner Adam Silver described the media rights process as “incredibly complex” due to the various technologies involved, including broadcast, cable, and streaming, the competitive nature of the bidding, and the unpredictable future.

When asked about the potential end of “Inside the NBA,” featuring Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Barkley, Silver recently expressed empathy for those affected by the prolonged negotiations.

“[To] the folks at Turner Sports, I apologize that this has been a prolonged process, because I know they’re committed to their jobs,” Silver 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.”

As the NBA continues to expand its reach with streaming, there will surely be plenty of changes in how games are broadcasted in the coming decade.

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