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#pounditMonday, June 24, 2024

Kevin Harlan speaks out on future at TNT amid NBA rights uncertainty

Kevin Harlan wearing a headset

May 10, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; TNT broadcaster Kevin Harlan during game four of the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The “Inside the NBA” crew may not be the only mainstays that TNT could lose if they fail to keep their rights to the NBA.

Longtime TNT play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan addressed his future at the network this week in an appearance on “SI Media With Jimmy Traina.”

TNT seems likely to lose their TV rights to the NBA upon the expiration of their current deal after the 2024-25 season. Harlan left open the possibility of leaving TNT if that ends up being the case.

“I still have two very good employers at CBS and Westwood that I love working for, doing the NFL and still getting a little college basketball in,” said Harlan, per Awful Announcing. “But I’d be lying if I said that the NBA didn’t have a very special place in my heart. I hope in some form or fashion that I continue with Turner, and if not with Turner, we’ll let the fates guide me I guess.

“I’ve been with Turner for 28 years,” Harland added. “We’ve had a lot of different ownership changes, but we’ve had the NBA that whole time … There’s nothing I can do. So I guess my immediate feel is I want to do the best job I can possibly do right now, I control the things I can control, and that’s my performance and doing the best I can do for these next [however] many games we’ve got left in this series.”

You can listen to Harlan’s full interview at the link here.

The 63-year-old Harlan has been calling NBA games for TNT since 1996. Along with Mike Breen, he is one of the most recognizable and iconic NBA play-by-play announcers today and has continued to provide special moments during his coverage of the NBA playoffs this year.

Though the exact details of Harlan’s contract with TNT are unclear, it is possible that he has an opt-out in the event that the network loses their NBA rights (as is the case with Charles Barkley). We recently heard that another TNT icon would likely remain with the network regardless of what happens with the NBA rights. But with these comments from Harlan, it seems like a much greater possibility that he could leave TNT if NBA basketball is no longer around.

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