Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has been a staple with NBA on TNT since 2000. With his contract set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 NBA season (according to TNT) the 1993 NBA MVP is said to be calling it quits.
Per reports, he may even do it a year early in 2023-24. Barkley has hinted at retirement before but has never acted on it.
Charles Barkley Reveals His Surprising Retirement Plans On “The Pivot Podcast” | “That’s Going To Be It For Me.”
In 2015, prior to signing the current deal, the “Round Mound Of Rebound,” hinted that he may retire before the 10-year deal expires. After just completing year seven, the 11-time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA selection, may just do it this time.
.@SHAQ & @TheJetOnTNT 😂 pic.twitter.com/ft5EbeqF9C
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 23, 2022
If Barkley is serious about retirement, would LeBron James be a possible replacement? If not full-time, at least part-time? LBJ’s close friend Dwyane Wade is a part-time TNT analyst, and Warriors star Draymond Green (a product of new media) is also a part-time in-season analyst who’s slated to be in that role until he retires.
Barkley Has Hinted At Retirement On Numerous Occasions
In February, right around his birthday, Barkley went on record saying he may retire sooner than later. In an interview with Brad Townsend of Dallas Morning News, Barkley was pretty much an open book about his plans.
When you realize there's no more #NBAonTNT until next season pic.twitter.com/UBwsN1yUnJ
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 27, 2022
“It’s been a great, great thing. I love Ernie, Kenny, Shaq and everybody we work with. But I just don’t feel the need to work until the day I die. I don’t, man. I’ll be 61 years old if I finish out my contract. I don’t want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting over by fat-ass Shaq waiting to drop dead.”
That would open the door for someone like LeBron to possibly join the show. Wouldn’t it be something to have Draymond, Wade, Candace Parker and LBJ all taking turns alongside Shaq, EJ, and Kenny?
Bron has been invited on the show on numerous occasions including this postseason with his Lakers failing to make the playoffs. In April, Barkley invited him to come on with the crew.
“Hey, LeBron I asked you a few years ago, why don’t you come on the show, man? You ain’t got nothing else to do. … Come on, LeBron. I’m begging you. Please come on the show. You ain’t got nothing to do right now. … Bron, Chuck is begging you to come on the Inside for two nights.”
“Actually, you do have something to do: you got to drive a couple of them guys back to the old folks home.”
James Would Be Great On The Show
As a player who’s universally regarded as one of the brightest basketball players ever, James would bring a unique IQ to the show. With him still playing in this era, he’d be able to bring a current player’s point of view, and it wouldn’t be stale.
Secondly, he’s LeBron James. He’s got one of the biggest followings a professional athlete has ever had, and that in itself makes for good theater. Lastly, James considers himself a comedian of sorts, and his sense of humor would go over well, especially with Barkley stepping down. The show wouldn’t lose that element without Barkley with Bron waiting in the wings.
James has “The Shop,” on HBO and he made a guest appearance on the “Manning Cast, during Monday Night Football this past season. So it’s not like he can’t do it, it’s just a matter of if he’s willing to and if his busy schedule permits it.