One of the best parts of a new NBA season is the return of the Inside the NBA crew on TNT featuring host Ernie Johnson and former NBA players Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and, of course, the great Charles Barkley.
As per usual, this award-winning foursome was amazing to open the 2020-2021 season with their incredible blend of serious game analysis and hilarious jabs at one another before, during, and after the opening-night doubleheader that featured the Brooklyn Nets beating down the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers ruining ring night for the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers.
There is an added layer to Inside the NBA this season as Charles Barkley has partnered up with FanDuel and is making certain guarantees and predictions during the show, one of which the former NBA MVP made last night about the Portland Trail Blazers that could make him millions of dollars if it happens to come true.
Charles Barkley recently partnered up with FanDuel
Just a day before the 2020-2021 NBA season began, FanDuel, who earlier this year signed a deal with Turner Sports to become the exclusive sportsbook partner for NBA programming across all of its properties, announced that Charles Barkley had signed an exclusive, multi-year deal with the company to become a spokesperson and brand ambassador.
Under the terms of the deal, the two-time Hall of Famer will appear in commercials for both FanDuel and Turner Sports pushing the former’s free-to-play contests and will also make appearances on podcasts for the sports betting site while also providing unique content to their social media channels.
Charles Barkley seems to be very excited about the deal and got right down to business during TNT’s opening-night doubleheader, making some “guarantees” early in the night before actually putting his money where his mouth is following the Lakers-Clippers showdown at Staples Center.
Charles Barkley bet $100,000 on the Portland Trail Blazers to win the Western Conference
Over the last couple of years, Charles Barkley has made no secret of the fact that he loves Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. During the 2020 NBA playoffs in the Orlando bubble, he actually picked the eighth-seeded Blazers to upset the top-seeded Lakers in the first round, which obviously didn’t happen, and that love has carried over into the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Shortly after the Clippers’ win over the Lakers, the Inside the NBA crew was discussing who was the second-best team in the Western Conference behind the Lakers. Ernie Johnson went with the Clippers while both Shaq and Kenny Smith went with the Denver Nuggets.
At that point, Barkley jumped in and boldly predicted that the Blazers would win the Western Conference. But he took things a huge step further by announcing that he was going to make his first official bet with FanDuel (even authorizing his agent right there on the air to do so) by placing $100,000 on Portland to win the West, the video of which you can view above.
If the Blazers win the West, he’ll make almost $400,000 more than he did the year he won NBA MVP
So if the Portland Trail Blazers do actually win the Western Conference in 2020-2021, Charles Barkley stands to make $2.8 million as FanDuel has the Blazers’ odds of coming out of the West to reach the NBA Finals at +2800.
What’s crazy — because betting $100,000 on anything isn’t crazy enough — is the fact that if Barkley’s prediction comes true and he wins $2.8 million, that will earn him more money than he made during the 1992-1993 NBA season in which he won NBA MVP with the Phoenix Suns. Per HoopsHype, Barkley earned $2.42 million that year. So he stands to make $380,000 more if he actually wins this bet.
So that should make for some fun banter on Inside the NBA throughout this season, especially if the Blazers start to struggle. But it’s likely that FanDuel is paying Charles Barkley a lot more than $100,000 to be their spokesperson so he’s really just playing with house money anyway, right?