Charles Barkley Inside the NBA Screen grab: Inside the NBA

The prospect of Dan Hurley joining the Los Angeles Lakers has been a massive story for ESPN, but not for Charles Barkley.

On the morning before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a Woj bomb, reporting the Lakers have been targeting UConn’s Dan Hurley for their head coaching vacancy. With ESPN’s JJ Redick previously being touted as the Lakers top head coaching candidate, the Hurley news spawned a content tree of talking points for the network that likely usurped some of their previously planned NBA Finals coverage.

The programming decision didn’t sit well with Barkley, however. Barkley joined OutKick’s Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich Friday morning and ripped ESPN to shreds for talking about Hurley and the Lakers over the NBA Finals.

“I was so mad at ESPN yesterday,” Barkley ranted. “I love Danny Hurley, this has nothing to do with Danny Hurley and good luck with him if he goes to the Lakers. But I was so pissed, with Game 1 of the Finals and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals coming on, for them to spend the first hour talking about ‘What if Danny Hurley goes to the Lakers?’

“I was so pissed yesterday, I had to turn my TV off…This is how stupid they are. Y’all got the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals and y’all talking about a team that’s irrelevant. And I’m like, whoever’s doing their programming has got to be the stupidest, most boneheaded people in the world.

“If he goes, we’ll talk about it, but to just go in there and blow air for an hour and then say, ‘Oh, by the way, we got game one of the Finals coming up tonight.’ I was like, who the hell is running their programming over there?” Barkley continued to Dakich. “You got those games as a network, and you spent the whole time talking about ‘What if Danny Hurley goes to the Lakers?’

“I’m like, what kind of idiots are running this network? I said, ‘that was crazy’…I just thought it was so stupid of ESPN yesterday just like, ‘Wait a minute, y’all got the biggest game of the NBA season coming on tonight. And y’all spent the first hour talking about if Dan Hurley goes to the Lakers.'”

Barkley has frequently ripped ESPN’s programming decisions, and he often has a fair gripe. But you can’t expect ESPN to ignore the surprising news of Hurley’s sudden Lakers coaching candidacy in favor of previewing the X’s and O’s of an NBA Finals game.

ESPN’s daytime programming certainly manufactures some untimely talking points about LeBron James or the Lakers for the sake of aggregation, but the Hurley story isn’t one to complain about. This was not breaking down whether Stephen A. Smith could score a basket on LeBron James, or who LeBron James’ best running mate was. This was a bombshell report by Wojnarowski worthy of the A-block.

Would it have been better for ESPN if it was reported Tuesday or Wednesday instead of the morning before Game 1 of the NBA Finals? Maybe for Barkley. But Hurley to the Lakers wasn’t a story for ESPN to just report and shelve. This was an out of nowhere news story with significant talking points that deserved several segments, even with Game 1 of the NBA Finals looming.


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