For over two decades now, NBA legend Charles Barkley has been informing and entertaining sports fans as a member of TNT’s Inside the NBA (which airs as part of the 2022 TV schedule). The hall of famer has arguably been a major part of the Emmy-winning show’s success, as fans love to see him give his signature takes on the biggest happenings within the world of professional basketball. It’s been long-rumored that Barkley would step down from his post relatively soon, but those reports have officially been squashed. The TV personality just inked a major contract extension and, after the news broke, he spoke out.
Charles Barkley’s Inside the NBA co-hosts Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith also signed new deals to remain with the show for the long haul. While details on his colleagues’ agreements have not been disclosed, The New York Post claims that Barkley’s 10-year extension is worth nine figures. Per the news outlet, Barkley – who currently has three years left on a contract worth $ 10 million per year – could make well over $ 100 million moving forward. The trade even suggests that the former NBA MVP could earn a sum close to $ 200 million if he fulfills the entire contract. In a statement, Barkley expressed excitement over his “life-altering” deal:
We’re all a big family – Ernie, Kenny and Shaquille are brothers to me – and I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for them and all the amazing people who work on our show. I’m not gonna lie, though, this is a life-altering deal… and I’m blessed to be able to do live television for a living.
This news does come as a surprise, considering the buzz around Charles Barkley potentially stepping away from the show. Earlier this year, Barkley opined that he’d probably retire after he finished out his current contract. Then again, he does seem to enjoy the job and generates a lot of buzz for Inside the NBA. (And that latter point could be the reason why he was purportedly offered so much cash to stay with the program.)
Charles Barkley has had plenty of memorable (and wild) moments as a member of the Turner Broadcasting family. From hilariously derailing Inside the NBA over a commercial to getting pranked with a bucket of water, he’s pretty much done it all. Of course, TNT does tend to rein him in at times, such as when it told him he could no longer make jokes about the “big ole women” of San Antonio. Don’t think Barkley’s all about the jokes, though, because he does offer some serious commentary, not unlike when he spoke about NBA players sitting out games in the name of social justice.
Aside from the Round Mound of Rebound though, it’s great to hear that Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson will also remain on the show for the foreseeable future. Each analyst brings a fresh perspective, and it’s always entertaining to see how their personalities mesh (or clash).
That crew definitely loves to laugh and, if this report is indeed true, they’ll be chuckling all the way to the bank. And since fans are also sure to be excited to have Charles Barkley and the gang, I’d say that this is a situation in which everybody wins.