Charles Barkley on TNT in April 2023. Charles Barkley on TNT in April 2023.

For years, Charles Barkley has implored TNT to stop airing so many Lakers games, and now he’s begging ESPN to stop talking about LeBron James’ squad.

On the heels of the Denver Nuggets sweeping LeBron’s Lakers out of the Western Conference Finals, Barkley still has a major problem with how the two teams have been covered. Earlier this week, Barkley admitted he had to turn off his television after ESPN couldn’t stop talking about LeBron and the Lakers the morning after Nikola Jokić led Denver to their first Finals appearance in franchise history. But during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Barkley blamed ESPN’s rundown on LeBron.

In his final postgame press conference of the NBA season, LeBron hinted that he’s contemplating retirement. Considering he’s been the face of the league for two decades, the mere thought of LeBron retiring is enough to dominate headlines and chyrons. Patrick asked Barkley if he thought LeBron hinting at retirement was calculated to keep the attention on himself even after he was swept out of the playoffs.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” Barkley said definitively. “Because he knew those fools on ESPN were gonna talk about it! They’re still talking about it! I actually turned my television off the next day because the first two blocks were all about LeBron instead of what the Denver Nuggets accomplished.”

“I think he did it intentionally,” Barkley added of James. “There’s no way he’s retiring. LeBron’s such a good dude and he’s got his stuff together, I was disappointed he took the shine away from the Nuggets.”

Hinting at retirement made it easy for ESPN to talk about the Lakers, but realistically, they were probably going to do it anyway. In the aftermath of Denver taking Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, ESPN kept the cameras on the winning team for just four seconds before moving to LeBron and the Lakers for the better part of two minutes. And ESPN is not alone in their love of the Lakers, the “nobody cares about the Nuggets” has been a narrative portrayed by several outlets.

Considering his apparent disdain for ESPN and their steadfast desire to talk about the Lakers, Patrick asked Barkley why he watches the Mothership at all.

“I’m on the treadmill, I gotta watch something,” Barkley said. “Cause you know I can’t watch no punk ass Skip Bayless. I gotta watch ESPN, it’s the only thing that makes your workouts go faster.”

Congratulations ESPN and First Take, Charles Barkley considers you the lesser of two evils when compared to Fox Sports and Skip Bayless.

[The Dan Patrick Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to