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Charles Barkley Reveals When He'll (Probably) Retire From Inside The NBA

Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA
(Image credit: TNT)

The sports entertainment world is filled with notable personalities, from the sharp-tongued Stephen A. Smith to the dry-witted Dan Patrick. Of course, one broadcaster who many viewers love (and sometimes hate) is former NBA player Charles Barkley. The hall of famer has been a member of TNT’s Inside the NBA for over two decades and has captured audiences with his brutally honest basketball takes. But all things must come to an end, as Barkley has now revealed when he’ll (probably) quit the long-running sports show. 

Though the former Phoenix Sun and Saturday Night Live host likes to joke around, he’s typically a straight shooter when it comes to details of his personal life. So when he spoke about retirement during a recent conference call related to the NBA All-Star Game (via Dallas Morning News’ Brian Townsend) people took notice. The TV host shared that he could call it a day when his contract expires in two years. He also explained why he’s just about ready to wrap things up on his broadcast run:

It's been a great, great thing. I love Ernie, Kenny, Shaq and everybody we work with. But I just don't feel the need to work until the day I die. I don't, man. I'll be 61 years old if I finish out my contract. And I don't want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don't want to be sitting inside over [by] fat-ass Shaq [waiting] to drop dead.

Charles Barkley first joined Turner Broadcasting’s signature basketball program back in 2000, kicking off a new era in sports commentary and entertainment. Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith proved to have tremendous on-screen chemistry and energy, which was only heightened by the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal in 2011. In addition to their commentary though, the stars are also known for their antics on camera. For instance, Barkley was once part of a live prank that involved a bucket of water. He and Shaq, in particular, seem to have a very good time goofing around, whether they’re talking shop or laughing about a team calling the cops on another.

The Round Mound of Rebound’s words have also gotten him into some hot water here and there. Just last year, Turner prohibited him from making jokes at the expense of big women in San Antonio. The sports pundit said, at the time, that he meant no offense but also claimed that he wasn’t talking about anyone specifically. And when he’s not making viewers cringe, he can have some both laughing and scratching their heads with his tangents. I mean, few people can hilariously derail a conversation by discussing a commercial

Nevertheless, Charles Barkley has managed to endear himself to sports fans, and many will likely be sorry to see him depart Inside the NBA. But it’s understandable that he’d be ready to leave, as the grind does get harder as one ages. On the bright side, viewers can still look forward to getting more of his controversial takes and sports-related clapbacks for at least a few more years. 

Those looking for more sports coverage from the Inside the NBA crew can check out All-Star Weekend, which will culminate in the marquee game. The event tips off this Sunday, February 20, at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.