Charles Barkley as a golf announcer? He’s a free agent, since he’s retiring from his NBA broadcast career

When contract talks between basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and TNT stalled a bit in 2022 there was talk that LIV Golf considered bringing Barkley in as a golf analyst.

The “Inside the NBA” star said after Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday that next season will be his last with the program – and that after the 2024-25 season he will be done with NBA television in its entirety.

Barkley has not been afraid to share his perspective as TNT’s parent company has tried to retain its ability to broadcast NBA games beyond next season. According to multiple reports, ESPN, Amazon and NBC are primed to be the rightsholders in the league’s next broadcast contract.

“There’s been a lot of noise around our network the last few months. And I just want to say – I’ve talked to all the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT,” Barkley said. “But I have made the decision myself. No matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family. You guys have been great to me. My heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

Barkley said he wants to “pass the baton” to another generation of analysts, such as Vince Carter and Jamal Crawford, at the end of next season. He also said that he was done giving interviews about his future prospects.

But in 2022, the fan-favorite analyst had been flirting with the Greg Norman-led and Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series, even though he insisted a concrete offer never came.

“No, they haven’t offered me anything,” Barkley told Golfweek after walking off the 18th green at a 2022 LIV Golf pro-am at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. “My number one priority is Turner, and I’m not gonna keep Turner in limbo. So that’s my priority.”

“They’ve given me everything I have,” Barkley said at the time.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley hits a tee shot during the LIV Invitational Pro-Am at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

No stranger to celebrity and pro-am events, Barkley has been a unifying force, appearing on TNT’s “The Match” and showing up at both PGA Tour and LIV Golf events. Could he be considered a possible golf analyst? He’s certainly got the connections.

“I’ve got friends on both tours, it was great to see some of my friends I haven’t seen in a minute like Brooks, Bryson, Pat Perez, I wish these guys great success,” Barkley explained. “I’m gonna support LIV, I’m gonna support the PGA Tour. But like I say, as of now, I don’t know anything. I haven’t been asked anything. I wish I could give somebody an answer, but I don’t know anything.”

Barkley, who has made it known he enjoys playing, watching and commentating on golf, has impressed those in the game with his attention to detail.

“I had dinner with him,” said Stan Utley, who captured the PGA Tour’s 1989 Chattanooga Classic. “I asked him this question, I said, ‘Do you work harder at golf than you did basketball?’ and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ I really don’t think people realize how much he loves golf and how much time he spends playing and practicing. I really do think he practices a lot.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek