Back in 2022, Charles Barkley revealed that there was a plan in place to give a spot on the Inside the NBA desk to one of Shaquille O’Neal’s old running mates. Barkley told Draymond Green that the late Kobe Bryant put pen to paper on a contract to join Turner when his NBA career came to an end, but ultimately, things fell through due to the fact that Bryant had some qualms about doing the additional promotional appearances that would pop up beyond just being on the show.
It’s a fascinating story, one that came up during Barkley’s cameo on “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce.” After retelling the story that he told Green, Barkley expressed that he had some reservations about whether adding Bryant to the fold would have worked.
“I don’t think his personality … I don’t think he’s built to have a lot of fun,” Barkley said at the 1:58:00 mark.
“I don’t know if he was built to have fun,” he continued. “He was a great person, I liked him, rest in peace. But like, he was a real serious guy. And the problem you have, if you’re gonna do our show, I don’t think people understand, we’re on from seven to two in the morning. Nobody wants to be damn serious from seven to two in the morning, ok?”
Bryant was, obviously, a gigantic personality and someone who was excellent whenever he appeared on TV after his playing career ended. But like Barkley said, one defining feature of Bryant’s prior to his passing in 2020 was how serious and professional he was, so maybe some of the jokes that can be a little personal that Chuck/Shaq/Kenny throw around might not have gone over especially well.