“Don’t Know If He Was Built To Have Fun”: Charles Barkley Thinks Kobe Bryant Was Too Serious To Be On “Inside The NBA”

During the NBA season no show captivates the NBA audience quite like “Inside The NBA” which leads up to the game which is referred to the “NBA on TNT.” With Basketball Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley going back and forth nightly, and two-time NBA chmapion Kenny “The Jet” Smith playing the voice of reason role, it all fits.

And with the legendary Ernie Johnson keeping things under control, the show is the hit NBA pregame and postgame show. 

During the 2022 season Turner Sports and the NBA on TNT even added Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green as an in-season contributor to the show. Green’s charismatic approach is a great fit alongside the dynamic aforementioned foursome. But Green wasn’t suppose to be the only addition to the crew.

Why Not Kobe?

In fact, the late Kobe Bryant was once slated to join the crew, but it never came to fruition, and Barkley believes it wasn’t a good fit from the jump, because of Bryant’s stoic approach and very serious demeanor. 

Barkley elaborated on what he meant during a recent appearance on “New Heights” podcast with Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and his brother Philadelphia Eagles center Travis Kelce. 

Barkley Says Kobe Wasn’t The Type To Have Fun

Barkley, who’s known to say whatever’s on his mind on the show, believes Kobe’s personality wouldn’t have been a good fit with the others. 

“I don’t think his personality, and what I meant by that, I don’t think he is built to have a lot of fun… I don’t know if he was built to have fun. He is a great person; I liked him — rest in peace — but, like, he is serious guy.

“And the problem you are going to have with our show, I don’t think people understand, we on from 7 to 2 in the morning, nobody wanna be damn serious from 7 to 2 in the morning,” the Hall of Famer added. 

Barkley Says Kobe Didn’t Wanna Adhere To All The Job Required

Barkley, the 1993 NBA MVP, also told the Kelce brothers why Kobe never made it to the set of the show. From what he mentioned, the late, great Bryant didn’t wanna comply with all the other things that go with the job. Barkley says he wanted to show up on Thursday, knock out the show, and that’s all. 

“I guess they had been meeting with Kobe behind the scenes. … Part of our job, we are gonna do several radio shows, and they always start, if you go back and look at them sometime, like, ‘Charles Barkley gonna be on Thursday night with TNT’ blah, blah, blah …

“So I end up doing five, six radio interviews a week. It’s part of they will tell people when you’re gonna be on. … Well, they told Kobe like, ‘Yeah, I’m not doing all those interviews,’ but it’s part of the gig. So he kinda got fired, quit before he actually came on,” Chuck said on the podcast. 

Sounds like Bryant wanted no parts of any of the weekly promotional stuff and only wanted to fly in on Thursday and do the show, and reportedly fly back to California. That wasn’t happening, and the powers that be weren’t going for it.

In the end, we’ll never know if it would’ve been a good fit with him added, but longtime co-host Barkley seems to think it wouldn’t have worked. 

Back to top