Jun 4, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; TNT sports analyst Charles Barkley speaks before game two between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On multiple occasions, Charles Barkley has stated a desire to retire at the age of 60. So it came as a surprise to many when, at 59-years-old, “The Mound Round of Rebound” signed a new 10-year contract with Warner Bros. Discovery last year.

But while Barkley almost immediately began to suggest that he wouldn’t fulfill the entirety of the contract — which is reportedly worth $100 million — the Hall of Fame power forward is now being more definitive about his plans. Appearing Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? on Max, Barkley, now 60, made it clear that he doesn’t plan on working for another decade.

“Yeah, there’s no chance I’m gonna do 10 years,” Barkley said. “They wanted me to sign for 10 years to make people think I wasn’t leaving. I honestly, to be honest with you, that does keep me up at night. And I think about it a lot. And I don’t want to overstep.”

“There’s a great line in the movie, American Gangster with Denzel Washington, the guy says, ‘quitting on top ain’t the same as quitting.’ And I was like, why do people stay until the end of their success? What’s wrong with quitting while you’re still having success, and you’re at the top of the game? And I weigh that a lot in my mind, ’cause like I say, I don’t, I’m not….there’s zero chance I’m gonna be on TV when I’m 70. Zero.”

A lot can obviously change in a decade, but it’s worth noting that Barkley has seemingly pushed his retirement timeline back from the age of 60 to 70. And the 1993 NBA MVP isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, as in addition his responsibilities on TNT’s Inside the NBA, his new CNN with Gayle King, King Charles, is set to debut later this year.

While Barkley clearly has understandable concerns about retiring at the top of his game, the reality is that he hasn’t shown any signs of slipping. In fact, “Sir Charles” clearly remains engaged with the NBA product and likely has one of the highest approval ratings among sports fans (except for the occasions where Warner Bros. Discovery forces him onto its college basketball coverage).

At this point, when it comes to his own retirement, we have to take Barkley at his word. But we’re going on at least five years of him hinting at it, and to this point, his actions have yet to match his words.

[Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.