Charles Barkley Rips 'Inside the NBA' Bosses Amid Uncertainty Surrounding Show's Future

Barkley directly criticized comments Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav made in 2022 about TNT's NBA broadcast rights.

Charles Barkley in a white suit with a light patterned tie, looking off-camera
Mitchell Layton via Getty Images
Charles Barkley in a white suit with a light patterned tie, looking off-camera

As the future of Inside the NBA remains in question, Charles Barkley has criticized his parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

In an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Barkley was asked how morale is among him and his colleagues as the future of the show remains uncertain. "Morale sucks, plain and simple. You know, I just feel so bad for the people I work with Dan," said Barkley. "These people have families and I just feel really bad for them now. 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."

Earlier this month, Bill Simmons said that NBC outbid TNT's parent company Warner Bros. Discovery to secure the broadcast rights to the NBA, which would effectively end the beloved halftime and postgame TNT series Inside the NBA. On Wednesday, May 22, Sports Business Journal reported that the NBA is formalizing deals with Disney, NBC, and Amazon.

Barkley was especially critical of the news that TNT Sports made a deal to sublicense college football playoff games while failing to secure NBA rights. "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, Dan.”

Patrick suggested to Barkley that he should team up with his co-hosts—Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O'Neal—to form a production company to sell a new version of Inside the NBA to whichever network secures the rights.

"Well, I've talked to the guys about everybody signing with my production company, because I have my own production company, and I would love to do that if if we lose it," he continued. "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.' But, like I said, we're just sitting back, waiting on these people to figure out what they're gonna do."

He described the people responsible for fumbling the deal as "clowns" and "fools," and said that he's angry about the current situation.

Charles Barkley says morale sucks amid the uncertainty of "Inside the NBA" moving forward. And discusses the possibility of hiring the crew to his production company, continuing to do the show, and selling it.

— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) May 23, 2024
Twitter: @dpshow

As for why he thinks they're in the situation they're in, he said it might have something to do with TNT insinuating they didn't need the NBA broadcast rights. "They came out and said, 'We didn't need the NBA,' so I think that probably pissed Adam [Silver] off," he added. "I don't know that... When we merged, that's the first thing our boss said: 'We don't need the NBA.' Well, he don't need it, but the rest of the people... We need it. It just sucks right now."

Following the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery, the company's CEO David Zaslav suggested that broadcast rights for the NBA weren't all that important to his strategy. "We don't have to have the NBA," he said in 2022, per CNBC.

As of right now, NBC is in talks to acquire rights with a bid between $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion, which is over double Warner Bros. Discovery's previous TV rights agreement of $1.2 billion.

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