Charles Barkley is a man of the people. A lovable goofball that perfectly compliments Shaquille O’Neal on the set of TNT’s Inside the NBA, some of the best moments of a basketball season come from the program. But Barkley isn’t afraid to change things up, yielding interest from LIV Golf as a potential personality. However, the 11-time NBA All Star set the record straight on Friday about a potential move.
Participating in the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster Pro-Am, Barkley was the talk of the course. Reportedly interested in abandoning TNT’s hoops coverage for the controversial Saudi-backed league, Barkley thanked LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman for the opportunity, but politely declined.
Speaking to the New York Post, Barkley said, “I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me. I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner – because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life – It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.”
Barkley says his decision to remain with TNT has nothing to do with LIV Golf’s financial backing. Rather the decision comes down to loyalty. The Naismith Hall of Famer said, “My No. 1 priority is to be fair to Turner and my sponsors, to be honest with you. I couldn’t just keep them holding on so I made up my mind last night. I was like, ‘Make a decision and live with it.'”
Charles Barkley’s Future With TNT Beyond LIV Golf
Barkley often boasts his desire to step away from his analyst role upon the expiration of his contract. With just three seasons remaining on his current deal, his departure would create a mighty blow to Inside the NBA’s thrill.
The 59-year-old said, “I don’t want to overstay my welcome. I’ve been doing it 21 years already. First off, dude, I’m almost 60 years old now. I’m very aware of my body disintegrating, like all the older guys’ bodies are disintegrating. I would like to be on vacation somewhere instead of sitting in Turner’s studio as I decay. I don’t want to decay on television.”
As Barkley returns to the Inside the NBA set for the remainder of his contract, his ultimate denial of LIV Golf’s interest doesn’t mean the end of his participation with the league. LIV remains without American television sponsorship, but it appears trending in that direction. Turner could acquire the tour’s rights, allowing Barkley to moonlight.
But for any fans of TNT’s Inside the NBA with Shaq, Chuck, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson, don’t fret. It’s status quo for the lovable and highly entertaining panel.