“He Didn’t Want To Do All The BS” | Charles Barkley Says TNT Almost Hired Kobe Bryant To ‘Inside The NBA,’ But Mamba Declined The Gig

Charles Barkley says the late Kobe Bryant turned down an offer from TNT to join "Inside The NBA". (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

The late, great Kobe “Bean” Bryant spent 20 illustrious seasons in the league. He’s just one of two players to spend 20 years with one franchise, the other being Dirk Nowitzki. After winning five NBA championships and positioning himself into the GOAT conversation, Bryant called it a career in 2016.

Many wondered what the multi-talented Bryant would venture into next. Television was a natural assumption, due to Kobe’s eloquence. 

Immediately, networks began clamoring for his services. Bryant reportedly signed a contract with TNT, and its hit show “Inside The NBA.” He was supposed to join the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley. But Kobe then had a change of heart and decided to focus on other ventures such as the Mamba Academy, winning Oscars for writing short stories, and of course, coaching his daughter Gigi’s AAU team and carpooling for his girls.

In an interview on the “Draymond Green Show,” Barkley spilled the beans on that matter.

“I’m probably getting into trouble for telling you this, but we actually hired Kobe Bryant at Turner. But he didn’t want to do the other bullsh-t, and I’m probably getting into trouble for saying this, but it’s one of the little things that we keep in the car, but he actually signed with us.”

Bryant Wasn’t Too Keen On The Extra Stuff They Wanted, So He Bounced

Per Barkley, Bryant wasn’t feeling all the other stuff that came with the job, the promotional side of things. So basically the “Black Mamba” bounced.

 

“But then we started telling him like you know I had to do a bunch of radio shows, like hey I go on this radio show on Monday… Thursday night TNT, same thing on Tuesday, same thing on Wednesday, same thing on Thursday, he like, yeah I don’t want to do all of that stuff.”

Bryant believed if you’re going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. And knowing he wasn’t willing to dedicate the time required to be a master of the craft, he bowed out gracefully.

Besides, he wasn’t chasing fame and attention. Kobe was always the center of attention, since his high school days in Philly. 

 

Bryant’s Transition Into The Studio Would’ve Been Seamless

Blessed with elite basketball IQ and a charisma of his own, Bryant would’ve been great on the show in any role. He had no problem giving credit to other players, but he also wasn’t afraid to criticize them. 

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Kobe asserted that the Rockets couldn’t win a title playing in Mike D’Antoni’s style. The way they utilized James Harden was a detriment to team success. 

That style is Harden holding the ball the entire shot clock, with no movement. Defenses overload to one side when the ball sticks, making it much easier to defend the offensive attack. 

“I don’t think that style is ever going to win a championship,” Kobe said. “But at the same time, you have to keep your team’s head above water to win games.”

 

Harden agreed with Kobe’s comments. 

“I have to be ball-dominant just because we have injuries,” Harden responded in the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve had injuries throughout the course of the year. But when we get Chris Paul in a rhythm and Eric Gordon back and get our full roster back, we’ve got multiple guys that can make plays, and multiple guys that can dominate the ball. So for right now, he’s probably right.”

Bryant was right, this style didn’t change, and the Rockets went out in six games to the Kevin Durant-less Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals.

This is just a small example of the insight and knowledge of the game that Bryant possessed and what he could’ve brought to the TNT set.


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