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#pounditMonday, June 24, 2024

Charles Barkley floats interesting idea for future of ‘Inside the NBA’

Charles Barkley smiles

The most popular studio show in sports is in danger of extinction with NBA media rights slipping away from TNT, and Charles Barkley says he is considering a unique idea that might help save it.

TNT’s “Inside the NBA” is facing an uncertain future, as the network’s current media rights deal with the NBA is set to expire after the 2024-25 season. If TNT loses the rights, it is possible that the popular studio show featuring Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson will be no more.

Barkley discussed the situation during a Thursday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.” The Hall of Famer called TNT executives “clowns” for the way they are handling negotiations with the NBA. Patrick then suggested that Barkley and the “Inside the NBA” crew should continue to do the show and potentially sell it to another network or streaming giant. Barkley said that is something he has considered.

“I’ve talked to the guys about everybody signing with my production company, because I have my own production company. I would love to do that if we lose it,” Barkley said. “Actually somebody suggested that to me, to be honest with you, on the internet: ‘Why don’t Charles Barkley sign these three guys, four guys total, to his production company and sell it?’ I’m like, that’s a great idea.”

You can hear the discussion at the 1:30 mark:

Barkley was also critical of David Zaslav, who is the CEO of TNT parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. Zaslav said at a conference two years ago that TNT does not need to retain NBA rights in order to be successful. While Barkley said he does not have any inside information, he wonders if Zaslav’s remark angered NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Barkley has an opt-out clause in his contract with TNT that allows him to leave if the network loses its NBA rights. If Barkley does leave, we have an idea of how much money he could potentially make.

Even if “Inside the NBA” did wind up on another platform, there is one way in which the show would probably look a lot different.

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