BNM Summit
Saturday, July 20, 2024
Jim Cutler Voiceovers
BNM Summit
Ramsey Solutions


Dan Le Batard: TNT Sports Will Try and Talk Charles Barkley Out of Retirement

Charles Barkley, studio analyst for TNT Sports and former NBA Hall of Fame forward, announced that he would be retiring from television after 25 years on the air upon the conclusion of the 2024-25 NBA season. The topic was a subject of discussion on Monday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, an announcement that Le Batard conveyed that Barkley made in his own way with different people than the group with whom he normally broadcasts.

Barkley has made several media appearances outside of his Warner Bros. Discovery obligations pertaining to the future of NBA media rights with TNT, during which he has spoken candidly about his sentiments on the negotiations. Within those interviews, Barkley revealed that he has an opt-out in his 10-year contract should the company lose NBA rights and also criticized executives with the company after not closing a deal within its exclusive 90-day negotiating window as an incumbent rightsholder.

- Advertisement -

“It was really an unusual place for him in the middle of the night after a game to just tell everybody, ‘And I’ve decided to retire,’ and then TNT’s statement is, ‘We’re going to discuss all of this with Charles. He just caught us off guard,’ and Charles can say whatever that he wants, but they’re going to try to talk him out of this,” Dan Le Batard explained, “and at the very least, that’s not the way they wanted him to do it, and of course, Charles Barkley doesn’t care how you want him to do it.”

The NBA is reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC), NBCUniversal, and Amazon’s Prime Video. If Warner Bros. Discovery is unable to reach a deal with the NBA, it would mark the end of NBA live game broadcasts on Turner-owned properties, which have been telecasting the games since the 1984-85 campaign. Stugotz is not sure if Barkley will follow through on his retirement announcement and concurred that it was an atypical setting to deliver the career decision.

“I think Barkley is emotional right now – I think they’re all emotional – they should be,” Weiner said. “I’m not certain that Charles Barkley, because he’s going to have so many offers and so many opportunities be it at Turner or ESPN or elsewhere, I’m not certain if he’s just caught up in the emotion or he’s actually going to go through with it.”

There had been rumors several years ago of Barkley joining LIV Golf and potentially leaving Warner Bros. Discovery; however, that did not materialize into any kind of deal. Barkley ended the conversations with the golf tour and affirmed that he would be staying with the Turner Sports division for the remainder of his broadcast career. While he was making his retirement announcement, he revealed that he had spoken to other networks and did not want to be contacted for interviews on the matter.

“The amount of pressure that Barkley must feel to keep the whole thing together as it falls apart because he’s the centerpiece of the whole thing and if they lose the rights and Ernie doesn’t want to leave and the show gets ruined, he doesn’t want to do it in some distorted form,” Le Batard said. “I do believe Stugotz’s analysis is right. He’s tired of being emotional about this, and he just went emotion from the hip.”

Show producer Mike Ryan offered the possibility that Barkley could be creating significant leverage by announcing his retirement at this time. With a year to go until the expiration of the existing NBA media rights contract, he will effectively have a year-long farewell, but he has spoken about retirement in the past and ended up re-signing with the network. The possibility of Warner Bros. Discovery landing an NBA package of some kind is also said to still exist, leading Ryan to ask Le Batard if he thinks Barkley would reconsider his decision if it came to fruition.

“I don’t know because I think predicting his behavior can be very difficult because it hasn’t been hinting at retirement,” Dan Le Batard said. “He has been talking publicly and privately about actually retiring at the age of 60, and he did surprise me when he signed another contract at the age of 60 because of how he’s been talking about that for a while. He does want to slow down the amount of obligations that he has, but he hasn’t been able to do it for whatever the reasons.”

Dan Le Batard said the rationale of Barkley deciding not to slow down in television spanned beyond fiscal compensation. At the moment, Barkley seems to be trying to create public leverage, according to Le Batard, when, with his new contract, he could be doing it privately and still have such leverage.

Producer Billy Gil also mentioned that ego could be involved and finds it difficult to believe Barkley would just disappear from television and no longer express his opinions.

“Billy, you think he’s not going to have other options to do whatever the hell he wants the moment he walks?,” Dan Le Batard asked. “….He could create whatever job that he wishes to create on his own time. He’s got maximum freedom.”

Popular Articles