Charles Barkley will retire from NBA broadcasting after next season

TNT commentator Charles Barkley announced Friday that he plans to retire from television broadcasting in 2025, while Warner Bros. Discovery is in media rights negotiations with the NBA.

Barkley, 61, a Hall of Fame forward and widely respected broadcaster, has been a fixture at TNT since retiring from the NBA in 2000. and commentators Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on the popular and influential “Inside the NBA.”

The NBA is in talks with Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Amazon and NBC about its next media rights deal, which will begin after the 2024-25 season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said talks are ongoing this month, but multiple reports have indicated that TNT’s parent company, Warner Bros., could lose NBA rights to Discovery for the first time since 1988.

“There’s been a lot of noise on our network over the last few months,” Barkley said. “I want to say: I’ve talked to all the other networks, but I’m not going anywhere but TNT. But I’ve decided for myself: whatever happens, next year will be my last year on television.

“I want to thank my NBA family. You’ve been good to me. My heart is full of joy and gratitude. But I’m going to bat at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT. But, for me personally, I want you to hear from me.

Barkley, who has been mulling retirement for years, made the announcement on the NBA TV postgame show following the Dallas Mavericks’ 122-84 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

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“I don’t do any more interviews,” he said. “Don’t you call me. I’m not talking about this again. I wanted to tell my TNT and NBA TV family that I’m not going to another network. I’m going to pass the baton to Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or Steve [Smith].”

TNT game said in a statement Saturday Barkley “is and always will be a beloved member of the TNT Sports family” and the network “looks forward to another fantastic ‘NBA’ season on TNT and further discussing our future plans with him.”

Barkley signed a contract extension with TNT through 2022, which reportedly gave him the option to leave the network if it couldn’t renew its media rights deal with the NBA. As negotiations have dragged on for months, Barkley has repeatedly criticized TNT’s leadership and voiced his support for the network’s rank-and-file employees.

“I want to say this because you are my family,” Barkley said. “I love TNT, all the people who work here, and NBA TV. You have been wonderful to me for 24 years. I want to thank my entire NBA family. I love you guys.

Johnson, 67, who joined Turner Sports in 1989, said last month that he would not leave TNT even if the network loses its NBA rights.

Silver said on June 6 that media rights negotiations are “incredibly complex” and that league staff are “working around the clock” to finalize new contracts.

“It’s complicated for a number of reasons,” Silver said. “One is the advent of new platforms, especially streaming and interest from streaming companies, and then traditional media companies are also taking our games to streaming platforms.

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“It’s complicated because so many partners are all looking for the same assets. In many cases, it’s finding the right way to balance when those games go to different partners. And then, lastly, we tend to do long-term deals. We think that’s good for the stability of the league, but to a certain extent you have to predict the future.” Try as you might, it’s definitely impossible.

The commissioner added that “Inside the NBA” has a “special” role in the league’s community and that he enjoys “a close relationship with everyone on the show.”

“On the one hand, from a league standpoint, it’s wonderful to be wanted and wanted and have so many suitors,” Silver said. “At the same time, it makes me uncomfortable that it’s zero-sum, at the end of the day there’s only so many TV packages, so many finals and playoff games and only regular season games being distributed.

“I will say directly to the people who seem to be most affected right now, the people at Turner Sports, I apologize for this being a protracted process, because I know they are committed to their jobs. I know people who work in this industry. It’s a big part of their identity and their family’s identity, and Nobody likes this uncertainty and I think it’s up to the league office to bring these negotiations to a head and finish them as quickly as we can.

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