NBA fans were elated to learn Charles Barkley agreed to a 10-year deal with TNT, unfortunately for those fans, Barkley doesn’t intend to fulfill the newly signed contract.
On Monday, TNT’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery Sports announced long-term contracts with the entire Inside the NBA cast and it was later reported that Barkley’s deal was a 10-year contract worth upwards of $200 million. Barkley joined the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday morning to preview the 2022-23 NBA season and during the interview, the basketball Hall-of-Famer quickly downplayed the idea of remaining on TNT for another decade.
According to Barkley, TNT approached him about signing a long-term contract as they prepare to bid for a new NBA rights agreement. The network’s existing rights agreement is set to expire after the 2024-25 season, which reportedly coincides with Barkley’s current contract.
“TNT asked me like ‘We need something from you. Would you give us something?’ and I said, ‘What do you want?’ They’re like, ‘We need you to stay longer. We can’t lose you and bid on the NBA.’” Barkley told Patrick to explain how the negotiations jumpstarted. “They asked me if I would sign for a couple more years and I said, ‘you guys have been great to me, I’ll stay a couple more years.’ There’s probably zero chance I’m gonna stay for the entire ten years.”
In recent years, Barkley has stated he does not want to work beyond the age of 60. “I don’t wanna work til the day I drop dead,” the 59-year-old reiterated to Patrick. While it seems like Barkley has no intentions of fulfilling his new 10-year contract, he will work beyond his 60th birthday, which comes next February. And assuming TNT reaches a new rights agreement with the NBA, Barkley will also work beyond 2025 to appease the network’s continued partnership with the league. But after that, how long Barkley remains on TV would seem to be anybody’s guess.
Collecting nearly $20 million per year to work one night a week during the NBA season sounds like fairly easy money for Barkley, but after chasing LIV Golf’s wallet a few months ago, he now tells Patrick it’s not about the money.
“I’m not worried about money at this stage of my life,” Barkley claimed. “Listen, if I don’t have enough money by now, I’m a big idiot. I played 16 years in the NBA and this is my 22nd year on Turner. If I don’t have enough money by now, I’m just an idiot.”
Barkley described having a relatively easy negotiating process with WBD Sports, claiming he bypassed his agent and met with network executives himself. While those meetings occurred shortly after he flirted with LIV, Barkley said his conversations with the Saudi-funded golf league had “zero” bearing on his well-timed ability to garner a big raise from Turner.