Charles Barkley
(CBS Sports/Twitter)

Charles Barkley: TNT Bosses 'Clowns' For Losing NBA To NBC

It's a dark day for the NBA on TNT, or more specifically, the hit show Inside the NBA. That show features Charles Barkley, perhaps the game's best studio analyst, as well NBA legends Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal, and legendary host Ernie Johnson.

Well, it's all about to come to an end, it seems — as the company that owns TNT (Warner Bros. Discovery) has been outbid for the league's broadcast and streaming rights by NBC. That means Inside the NBA has one year left. And you can, of course, rely on Barkley to have an opinion about it.

"Morale sucks, plain and simple," Barkley said on The Dan Patrick Show. "I just feel so bad for the people I work with ... these people have families."

He wasn't finished.

"These people I work with, they've screwed this thing up, clearly," Barkley said of those running the network. "My two favorite wines are Inglenook and Opus, and these clowns I work for have turned us into Ripple, Boone's Farm and Thunderbird."

The new media rights agreement goes into effect for the 2025-26 season, which means, again, Inside the NBA would only get one more run. The league and its broadcast partners are expected to formalize a written agreement this week. ESPN/ABC and Amazon Prime are also in on the new deal.

"Industry sources believe ESPN will ultimately pay $2.8B annually — though other industry sources insist it is still an earlier reported $2.6B — for the league's 'A' package, which includes the NBA Finals, a conference final, weekly primetime games, the WNBA and likely shared international rights," wrote Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal.

"NBC's proposed 'B' package is believed to be now worth $2.6B annually — up from a reported $2.5B — and would probably include a 'Basketball Night in America' on Sunday nights following the NFL season, a total of two primetime windows a week, conference semifinals and a conference final. Amazon's deal is believed to be worth between $1.8B and $2B and would likely include the Emirates In-Season Tournament, the SoFi Play-In Tournament, first-round playoff games, the WNBA and international rights."

So, yeah, a return to NBC would mean TNT is indeed out of luck. As for the actual games, no one would probably care. But man, they sure would miss Inside. Johnson, for one, said he would remain with TNT Sports regardless of what happens next with the NBA. Barkley, no doubt, would be a prized free agent.