Charles Barkley Joked About TNT Possibly Losing NBA Rights After They Got Rid Of Kenny’s Chair Lift: ‘Times Are Tough Around Here’

One of the subplots going on during the 2024 NBA Playoffs is the ongoing rights negotiations between the league and various potential national broadcast partners.

While ESPN’s portion is locked in and it sounds like Amazon will be getting a piece, the third segment of the deal is still up in the air. NBC has reportedly put in a strong offer and the league is asking TNT to top it (with some debate over whether they have the right to match or have to beat the offer). The asking price is very high (reportedly $2.5-$2.8 billion) and Warner Bros. Discovery hasn’t yet gone all-in to make sure they retain the rights.

That’s brought into question the future of Inside the NBA, which would be a big loss for fans and the league if the show ends up going off air after next season should TNT no longer have rights — even with many of the members likely to end up somewhere else. On Sunday night’s halftime show during Game 7 between the Wolves and Nuggets, Charles Barkley couldn’t help but poke some fun at the current situation when Kenny Smith realized his chair lift had been removed from the studio.

“Hey Kenny, I don’t know if you heard, but times are tough around here,” Chuck quipped, getting some laughs from the desk.

Chuck has never been afraid of getting a punchline out of anything, from the NBA to his own network, and it’s honestly surprising it took this long for him to find a way to have some fun at WBD’s expense on air. Hopefully, we won’t be losing these kinds of moments in the future, whether on TNT, Amazon, or elsewhere.