Barkley rips ‘clowns I work for’ over ‘Inside the NBA’ negotiations

Charles Barkley is displeased with the situation he and his ‘Inside the NBA’ teammates find themselves in: sweating whether or not the NBA will keep Warner Bros. Discover, the parent company of TNT, as a partner in its down-to-the-wire media rights negotiations.

‘Morale sucks, plain and simple,’ Barkley said Thursday on the ‘Dan Patrick Show.’

Barkley took aim at WBD CEO David Zaslav for saying the company didn’t need the NBA at an investing conference two years ago. Barkley said he doesn’t know for sure that the comment upset NBA commissioner Adam Silver, but it definitely didn’t help negotiations.

‘These people I work with, they screwed this thing up, clearly,’ Barkley said. ‘We don’t have zero idea what’s going to happen. I don’t feel good, I’m not going to lie.’

Reports indicate TNT might be on the outs, with ESPN remaining, Amazon swooping in and NBC coming back to the NBA.

Barkley was confused by TNT Sports adding College Football Playoff games in a licensing deal with ESPN announced Wednesday. It signaled to him that they were spending on other sports because the company won’t have to commit finances to the NBA.

‘I just feel so bad for the people I work with, Dan,’ Barkley said. ‘These people have families. I just really feel bad for them right now.’

‘Inside the NBA’ won its fourth Sports Emmy award for ‘Best Studio Show: Limited’ this week. The program is hosted by Ernie Johnson, and Barkley is joined on the desk by Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith.

Barkley said he’s spoken to the crew about signing them to his production company, Fine Line Productions, and then selling the show to one of the remaining rightsholders.

‘We’re just sitting back waiting on these people to figure out what they’re going to do,’ Barkley said. ‘My two favorite wines are Inglenook and Opus and these clowns I work for, they’ve turned us into Ripple and Boone’s Farm and Thunderbird.’

The show would continue for another year on TNT even if WBD lost out on the NBA. The league’s new media deal wouldn’t start until the 2025-26 season begins.

At one point, Patrick opted for an observation rather than a question: ‘You’re actually angry.’

‘I am,’ Barkley replied.

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