Charles Barkley Eyes Retirement at End of Current TNT Contract

Charles Barkley attends the 2019 NBA Awards
Rich Fury/Getty Images

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is considering retiring from his broadcast duties when his TNT contract expires in two years.

Speaking to reporters ahead of this coming Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, the Inside the NBA co-host said, “I don’t want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting inside over [by] fat-ass Shaq [waiting] to drop dead.”

Barkley has served as a sports analyst for TNT since 2000, appearing on the network’s NBA coverage during pre-game and halftime shows. He currently features alongside Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal on the postgame talk show Inside the NBA.

As first reported by the Dallas Morning News, the 59-year-old Barkley told reporters that there are two years left on his current contract, and once that expires, “that’s probably going to be it for me.”

“It’s been a great, great thing. I love Ernie, Kenny, Shaq, and everybody we work with,” he stated. “But I just don’t feel the need to work until the day I die. I don’t, man. I’ll be 61 years old if I finish out my contract.”

This isn’t the first time the former Houston Rockets player has talked about retirement. He had previously considered leaving his broadcast career and becoming an NBA general manager before Inside was renewed in 2015. He said he decided to stick with the show because TNT “wanted to keep the band together.”

Around the same time, Barkley hinted that he would be done in 2020, regardless of his contract. Yet, as of 2022, he still remains with the show and apparently intends to be there for at least two more years.

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“He’s never gonna quit,” fellow Inside analyst O’Neal told the Marchand and Ourand podcast in November. “Charles is gonna be here forever. We need him, and he needs us. I’m convinced that if I’m retired and I don’t do nothing, I will falter away. This is what we do and what we live for. It’s what we’ve been doing, and we need each other. We keep each other going.”

Inside the NBA, Tuesdays, TNT