Over the last two decades, Charles Barkley has become a vital part of TNT’s award-winning Inside the NBA TV program. Barkley helped elevate the long-running show to its iconic status as arguably the top postgame broadcast. With that in mind, the former Philadelphia 76ers great recently revealed his retirement plans.
Charles Barkley elevates TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’ to tremendous success
Shortly after Barkley stepped into NBA retirement in 2000, he latched onto TNT’s Inside the NBA as part of the three-person crew alongside longtime sports anchor Ernie Johnson and former Houston Rockets star Kenny Smith.
Barkley’s arrival took the show to another level through his blunt and often unpredictable opinions, transforming it into a must-see sports TV program. The show expanded to four personalities after Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal joined the mix in 2011.
The 58-year-old has helped guide the program to earn 15 Sports Emmy Awards. It includes six for the best daily show (2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014), five for the best weekly show (2012, 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021), two for the best limited-run show (2019,2021), one for the best decoration and art visuals (2016), and one for the best social TV experience (2019).
Barkley has also won four Sports Emmy Awards as a studio analyst, while Johnson has earned six awards as a studio host. The program is a staple in the NBA community, but a drastic shift lies ahead and involves the former 76ers great.
Charles Barkley Reveals His Retirement Plans From TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’
Barkley has spent the last two decades in front of the camera as a vital part of the award-winning Inside the NBA crew.
The Hall of Famer’s long-term future has become a prominent discussion over the last few years due to his age. During a recent interview on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., Barkley revealed he only plans to step into retirement after he turns 60.
“I’m only hanging out for another couple of years, then they can kiss my ass,” Barkley said. “I am only working until I am 60. I already told them that. I said ‘I’m not working to the day I die. That’s just stupid.’ If I don’t have enough money by now, I am an idiot anyway, so they should fire me anyway.”
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the 58-year-old has repeatedly hinted at retirement over the last several years. Before inking an extension with TNT before the 2016-17 season, he voiced he considered stepping away in 2016.
Barkley has since kept quiet, but his latest comments indicate he already planned his departure from the award-winning show in 2023 or shortly following that.
Potential ‘Inside the NBA’ successors
With a time frame publicly in place for Barkley‘s departure, TNT will work behind the scenes to reshape the show.
His presence is a significant part of the program’s tremendous success over the last two decades. The Hall of Famer’s eventual absence will leave a massive void.
The company could either elect to go with a three-person crew of Johnson, Smith, and O’Neal or find another high-profile name to fill the fourth spot. Former Miami Heat great Dwyane Wade may become the preferred candidate due to already working as part of the NBA on TNT Tuesday show alongside O’Neal, Candace Parker, and Adam Lefkoe.
Wade possesses strong on-camera chemistry with O’Neal, along with some familiarity working with Smith and Johnson. Another option may be Golden State Warriors star forward Draymond Green, but that scenario will only become available when he retires in several years.
Nonetheless, TNT is bracing for Barkley’s retirement, which will shake up the award-winning program.