‘Screwed This Up So Badly’ | Charles Barkley Cites Low Morale, Blasts Warner Brothers Discovery For TNT Losing NBA Rights

As the NBA prepares to sign its new television deal, it’s becoming increasingly possible that TNT, which has broadcast games since 1989, will not be in the mix. Instead the NBA will be keep its deal with ABC and ESPN via parent company Disney.

That deal will average between $2.6 billion and 2.8 billion annually. Joining them will be NBC who hasn’t broadcast an NBA game since 2002, and they’re rumored to be set to pay the league $2.6 billion. 

Last but not least will be Amazon, who also got into the NFL package with their whopping $11 billion for 11 seasons for its Thursday Night Football package.

While they’re not paying that much to take on NBA coverage, they are shelling out between $1.8 billion and $2 billion annually to join the party.

That’s roughly $7.4 billion, and TNT is nowhere to be found. That means America will lose the most popular NBA pregame and postgame show “Inside The NBA” on TNT with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. 

That foursome has become a household fixture on Thursday nights, and, per early indications, that’s about to come to an end. 

Charles Barkley Not Happy With WBD Brass

One thing for sure, and two things for certain is Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is gonna speak his mind, and that’s exactly what he did during an appearance on the “The Dan Patrick Show.” There Barkley took aim at the Warner Brothers Discovery brass who make the decisions. Barkley mentioned that the “morale sucks” on the show. He also told Patrick, “The people I work with screwed this up so badly.”

Barkley is speaking of the WBD executive group, which includes embattled CEO David Zaslav. Per Barkley, WBD also told NBA commissioner Adam Silver that they didn’t need the NBA, which is something Barkley says has hurt the negotiations.

He believes that type of comment is what spurred Silver and the league to look elsewhere for television deals, and in the end it looks like they’ll be on the outside looking in. 

He also questioned why they’re spending money to get College Football Playoff games, and not using that money to try to keep TNT covering NBA games. 

2024-25 Would Be TNT’s Last With NBA Games

If the rumor is true, then TNT would have one more season of broadcasting NBA games. The dynamic foursome who’s been together for 13 going on 14 seasons would be entering its final season together. In all EJ has been there since the network’s second year (1990), Smith arrived in 1998, Barkley came in 2000 after flirting with a comeback and joining former close friend Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards. O’Neal joined the cast in 2011 following his illustrious playing career, which included four NBA championships. 

Barkley also told Patrick that he believes Johnson, the show’s host, would retire before going to another network. But in the same breath Barkley said he may attempt to hire all three to his Fine Line Production Company and go independent.

While it would be odd to not see them on Thursday nights and come playoff time, if next season is truly their swan song they had a great and memorable run. 

But money talks, and you know the rest.

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