“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,” said NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley of his tenure on TNT’s Emmy-winning Inside the NBA.
Barkley made the statement on a call with reporters today ahead of the NBA All-Star Game, which the network will broadcast this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. His comments were first reported by the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend.
Asked about when he might retire, the 59-year-old Barkley said that after the has two years left on his contract “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. 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.
At the end of the call, Barkley was asked how much longer he’ll continue to be a broadcaster. Barkley, 59, says he has 2 years left on his contract “and that’s probably going to be it for me.” ….
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 15, 2022
Of course, Barkley has made such noises before about what he regularly calls “the best job in the world.”
When the Inside team reupped in 2015, Barkley mentioned retirement and wanting to be a NBA general manager someday, but said he signed back on to the show because, “They wanted to keep the band together.” Barkley also reportedly said at the time he’d be done in 2020 regardless of his contract. Yet here he is in 2022 saying effectively, “two more years.”
“He’s never gonna quit,” Inside cohort Shaquille O’Neal said on 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. Look, I’ve been here 11 years. I’ve heard that spiel before, but he’s gonna be here till the wheels fall off.”
Of course, Barkley has also been busy producing through his Round Mound Media.
Turner’s current NBA rights deal runs through the 2024-2025 season.