After flirting with LIV Golf over the summer about a contract and pointing out the “selective outrage” that is levied at the upstart series in regards to the “blood money” it uses to pay players, basketball great Charles Barkley ultimately decided to stay with TNT’s Inside the NBA.
“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me,” Barkley told the New York Post in July. “I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner — because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life. It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.”
That career has been extended by at least a decade as 59-year-old Barkley has agreed to a 10-year deal with TNT that is in excess of $100 million and could hit $200 million when all is said and done. Besides the amount, an interesting twist in the deal is that TNT’s rights agreement with the NBA expires after the 2024-25 season and Barkley “could potentially own rights to go work for another network or a digital platform if Amazon or Apple or others are involved,” per the Post. Barkley could also decide to retire from TV before the deal ends when he’ll be 69.
In addition to Barkley, TNT parent company Warner Bros. Discovery Sports also reached new agreements with his Inside the NBA teammates Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith (Shaquille O’Neal already had a long-term commitment), deals that “ensure the team will remain together for many years to come,” according to the network.
One of the best sports studio shows on television, Inside the NBA has aired for 33 years and was recognized by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the first-ever Transformative Media Award in 2020.
“We’re all a big family. Ernie, Kenny and Shaquille are brothers to me, and I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for them and all the amazing people who work on our show,” Barkley said in a release. “I’m not gonna lie, though, this is a life-altering deal and I’m blessed to be able to do live television for a living.”
And to not be doing it on behalf of LIV Golf.