Charles Barkley says he’s likely to leave TNT in two years when contract ends

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Inside the NBA is one the joys of the NBA season. Every Thursday night Ernie Johnson tries to play ringleader with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal in a show that is part hoops, part barbershop, part mocking JaVale McGee and mostly just a must watch part of the NBA.

It wouldn’t be the same without the outspoken Barkley.

But after a couple more years he may walk away. That’s what he said at the TNT NBA season tip-off event in New York on Monday, something attended by Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.

Finally, Barkley said his time as a broadcaster for TNT is nearing an end. He has two years on his contract, and said that the lucrative new deal the NBA signed with TNT (and ESPN) won’t affect his decision to walk away. He did mention that he might change course and stay for an even 20 years, and also expressed an interest in taking a general manager’s job.

“I love my job, I love the people I work with,” Barkley said. “My big decision is, I’ve got two years left on my deal. That’ll be 17 years. That’s a long time to do a job. I would rather leave too early than stay too long. And 17 years is a long time. I told Ernie when I took the job, I was only going to be here four years. Now 15 years later, I’m still here. I’m leaning heavily toward it, toward finishing my two years and leaving on a good note.”

Having heard Charles Barkley expound on players and contracts over the past decade plus on this show, there is zero chance I would give him a shot as an NBA GM.

I appreciate that he wants to try different things, that he wants to find a new challenge. That’s healthy. That spirit is what makes Barkley Barkley.

But for selfish reasons, I want Inside the NBA to go on as it is roughly forever. There is no other sports pre/post talking head show as good (ESPN’s College Gameday for football comes close). It is must watch. It is a great perspective while being incredibly entertaining.

And it wouldn’t be the same without Barkley.