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Charles Barkley Says He Would Reboot Inside the NBA If TNT Loses Rights

Charles Barkley Says He Would Reboot Inside the NBA If TNT Loses Rights

Charles Barkley is mad, and he is not holding back.

The NBA legend-turned Inside the NBA studio host was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show Thursday morning, and he ripped into his parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, and said that he had discussed reconstituting the popular NBA studio show at his own production company, should TNT Sports lose NBA rights.

Barkley said that he has discussed the idea with his co-hosts, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith. And, to note, WBD owns the rights to Inside the NBA but Barkley could find a way to reconstitute it under a different name if he struck out on his own.

“I have my own production company, I would love to do that if if we lose it [NBA rights],” Barkley said. “But I have definitely had — actually somebody suggested that to me, to be honest with you, on the internet — ‘so why doesn’t Charles Barkley sign these three, guys four guys total to his production company and sell it?’ I’m like, ‘That’s a great idea.’”

While it is not yet clear where the NBA rights will land, most reporting indicates that ESPN has a handshake deal to keep the “A” package of games, with Amazon having a deal for the “C” package, and NBC Sports in the driver’s seat for the “B” package currently held by Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT Sports.

Should TNT Sports lose the NBA (and it is not a sure thing yet), Barkley has said he has an out in his contract, but he told Patrick his thoughts were with the 200 or so colleagues he works with on the studio show.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple. You know, I just feel so bad for the people I work with Dan,” Barkley said, before criticizing his corporate bosses at WBD. “These people I work with, they’ve screwed this thing up clearly. And we don’t have zero idea what’s going to happen. I don’t feel good. I’m not gonna lie, especially when they came out yesterday and said we bought college football. I was like, well damn, they could have used that money to buy the NBA.”

Indeed, TNT Sports announced Wednesday a deal to sublicense some college football playoff games from ESPN.

“We’ve never had college football, never been involved with college football,” Barkley said. “And I’m like, wait a minute. Shouldn’t we be spending every dime we’ve got to keep the NBA? So morale sucks, to be honest with you.”

He would go on to further criticize executives at the company, noting that Inside the NBA won multiple Sports Emmy Awards just this week, as it seems to do almost every year.

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“We’re just sitting back waiting on these people to figure out what they’re gonna do,” Barkley said. “You know, my two favorite wines are Inglenook and Opus [referencing two high-end California wineries], and these clowns I work for, they’ve turned us into Ripple and Boone’s Farm and Thunderbird [cheap fortified supermarket wines]. Like we got the best studio show — it’s so funny we just won the best studio show [at the 2024 Sports Emmy Awards]. But these fools turn us from Inglenook and Opus into Boone’s Farm and Ripple. It’s crazy.”

“I think the first thing is you know they came out and said we didn’t need the NBA. So I think that probably pissed [NBA commissioner] Adam [Silver] off,” Barkley added. “I don’t know that, but you know when we merged that’s the first thing the boss [David Zaslav] said, ‘we don’t need the NBA,’ well he don’t need it. But the rest of the people, me Kenny, Shaq, and Ernie and the rest of the people who work here, we need it. So it just sucks right now.”

The NBA studio host also made it clear that, ultimately, he doesn’t know what will happen, noting that he has been reading media coverage that indicates the package is NBC’s to lose, and other reporting that suggests TNT is still in the mix.

“People walk up to me, I’m not even joking, 20 times a day,” Barkley said. “I’m like, dude, thank you for the kind words but I have zero idea what’s going to happen.”

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