Charles Barkley Called Out ‘These Clowns I Work For’ Amid The Reports TNT May Lose The NBA

If reports are true, Turner may be losing out on NBA media rights sooner rather than later. This would, unfortunately, mean the end of Inside the NBA, the legendary studio show that has served as a model for pre- and postgame shows over the last few decades. The future of the show in the event Turner loses a spot in the next media rights deal — Amazon, ESPN, and NBC are the trio that are reportedly in the drivers seats right now — is unclear.

There are reasons for optimism on the Turner side of things, namely the reported matching rights Warner Bros. Discovery apparently have. But whether or not these are triggered — and whether or not they would be valid — are both huge questions here. And unsurprisingly, Charles Barkley is not happy about this entire situation or how it’s impacting the people with whom he works, which he explained to Dan Patrick on his radio show.

After making what is absolutely not a coincidental statement about Mercedes — “Mercedes is a great car, but don’t buy it if you can’t afford it” — Barkley addressed a question Patrick asked about morale.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple,” Barkley said. “I just feel so bad for the people I work with, Dan. These people have families, and I just really feel bad for them right now. These people I work with, they screwed this thing up, clearly, and we don’t have zero idea what’s gonna 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 coulda used that football to buy the NBA.”

Barkley, of course, is referencing TNT’s agreement to sublicense College Football Playoff games from ESPN for the next few years, which got announced on Wednesday, the same day a report hit the internet which indicated that the NBA is moving towards written agreements on its new media rights deal with Amazon, ESPN, and NBC.

Patrick then threw an idea past Barkley: What if he teamed up with his three co-hosts, launched a production company, did Inside the NBA on their own, and sold that to whatever network they want? It’s an idea that has been floated recently and compared to Pat McAfee’s arrangement for his show with ESPN, and Barkley seems to be on board.

“I’ve talked to the guys about everybody signs with my production company, cause I have my own production company, and I would love to do that if we lose it,” Barkley explained. “Actually, somebody had suggested that to me, to be honest with you, on the internet. Why don’t Charles Barkley sign these three guys, four guys total, it’s 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.”

Barkley then made a wine analogy to explain how “these clowns I work for” have taken “the best studio show” and found a way to devalue it. And when Patrick pointed out that Barkley was angry about this, the Hall of Fame inductee got sentimental.

“I am,” Barkley said. “You know, Dan, it’s so interesting, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the crew lately, I’ve actually been with these guys where I’ve spent time with their — they bring their newborns in, they bring their kids in, they come in like when they were in high school, and now they’ve graduated from college. That’s how long. Ernie’s been there 32 years, Kenny’s been there 27, I’ve been there 24, but think about that. Some of these people I work with, they brought their newborns in to say hello to us, they brought them in in high school when they graduated, and now they’ve already graduated from college.

“So, yeah, I’m angry at people — they’re part of my family, to be honest with you,” Barkley said. “And I feel bad for those guys…”

Patrick stopped Barkley to ask about how TNT dropped the ball here, to which Barkley referred back to David Zaslav’s infamous comments about how Warner Bros. Discovery doesn’t need the NBA a few years back.

“I think that probably pissed Adam [Silver] off,” Barkley said. “I don’t know that, but I’m saying, when we merged — that’s the first thing that our boss said, we don’t need the NBA. Well, he don’t need it, but the rest of the people — me, Kenny, Shaq, and Ernie, and the people who work there, we need it. So, it just sucks right now.”