Following Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday, Charles Barkley made a big announcement. He's retiring after next year. Photo Credit: NBA TV Charles Barkley announces the 2024-25 season will be his last as an NBA commentator. Photo Credit: NBA TV

Following Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday, Charles Barkley made a big announcement. He’s retiring after next year.

The NBA’s new media rights deal has been a significant talking point through the later part of the season and into the playoffs. There’s been rampant speculation about the future of Inside the NBA, TNT’s critically acclaimed studio show featuring Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Ernie Johnson. Barkley has commented about the show’s uncertain future and rarely missed a chance to make a joke about it. If TNT loses the NBA, would Inside the NBA go elsewhere?

That remains to be seen. But on Friday night, shortly after the Dallas Mavericks fought off elimination by blowing the Boston Celtics out in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Barkley joined Chris Miles, Grant Hill, and Steve Smith on NBA TV to make two announcements. One, he’s not leaving TNT. Two, even if TNT keeps Inside the NBA, the 2024-25 season will be his last.

“There’s been a lot of noise around our network the last few months. And I just want to say, I’ve talked to all the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere, other than TNT. But, I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me. My heart is full with joy and gratitude. But I’m gonna pass the baton at the end of next year.”

Barkley continued, making it clear that he’s not talking about the subject anymore going forward.

“I hope the NBA stays with TNT but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me. Because I’m not doing any more interviews. Don’t y’all be calling me. Nobody call me. I’m not talking about this again. But I wanted to tell my NBA TV and TNT family that I’m not going to another network. But I am going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter, or you Steve. Next year, I am going to retire after 25 years. And I just want to say thank you. And I want you all to hear it from me first.

“Next year is gonna be a great year, no matter what happens,” he said. “And thank you NBA people, TNT and NBA TV — and everybody.”

[Photo Credit: NBA TV]

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