There had been whispers that Charles Barkley would leave TNT when his contract was up in 2016.
That talk was killed recently—along with some bottles of wine and tequila totaling $1,700.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch relates the story of how TNT executives lured Barkley back to “Inside the NBA” through the 2024-25 season. Deitsch writes that several of TNT executives flew to Scottsdale, Ariz., to meet personally with Barkley at his home.
Prior to the in-person meeting, a six-hour Italian feast featuring two magnums of 2009 Bond Estates St Eden Napa Valley Red, two bottles of 1942 Don Julio tequila and plates of pasta and meatballs–the Turner management group had gathered to determine a game plan on how to keep the Inside the NBA crew for the long-term.
Didn’t take long for Kenny Smith to fire on his longtime partner when he heard Barkley was back. Deitsch writes:
On the issue of Barkley, Smith took a nice shot at his on-air colleague and sparring partner. I never believed he would retire, said Smith. He fooled David Levy and got two bottles of good wine and tequila out of it.
Barkley always wanted to branch out of the studio, and the new contract allows him to, according to the report:
Barkley’s new deal includes access to appear on CNN for issues beyond sports including race, education and politics. Now here’s something that might surprise you: Barkley will also be covering the Olympics for Bleacher Report. Or at least he has the option to do if he wants.
Barkley on figure skating? Can’t wait!
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