'Inside the NBA' ending? Charles Barkley sounds off as cancellation reportedly close

NBA Hall of Famer and former Phoenix Suns star Charles Barkley is introduced during halftime
NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley isn't happy about being left in the dark about his network's negotiations with the NBA. (Darryl Webb / Associated Press)

Charles Barkley is getting his LinkedIn profile ready — and has been for a while now.

Amid ongoing reports that his network might lose the rights to broadcast NBA games starting in the 2025-26 season, the TNT basketball analyst joked about possibly having to use the employment-focused social media platform, with the implication that he and his "Inside the NBA" co-hosts could soon be out of a job, during a May 19 broadcast of the show.

More than two weeks later, Barkley made a similar comment Tuesday on the "Beadle & Decker" Sirius XM radio show Tuesday.

“I’m getting my LinkedIn profile together, so I might call y’all," Barkley told co-hosts Michelle Beadle and Cody Decker. "I might put you all on my resume. Is that cool?”

"Might" was the operative word, since an official announcement still hasn't been made about what will happen with the league's broadcasting rights when the current deal with TNT parent company Warner Bros. Discovery and ESPN parent Disney ends after next season.

Read more: How the NBA's next TV deal could disrupt the media landscape

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the league is "closing in" on a deal to broadcast its games on NBC, ESPN and Amazon, which would leave TNT out of the loop for the first time since 1989. As of Tuesday, though, Barkley said he hadn't heard a word from his employer on whether the show on which he's appeared since 2000 will be coming to an end next year.

"That’s the one thing that really, really bothered me the most about the TNT experience," said Barkley, who hosts "Inside the NBA" with Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith. "Like, hey man, just tell us something. ‘Cause, you know, everybody’s got an article coming out every day about we still got a chance or we’ve lost it. I’m like, yeah man, you guys see us every week. How ‘bout picking up the phone, saying ‘Hey, we still negotiating’ or ‘you know what, we’ve lost it.’

"Just truth us. Cause the one thing that really sucks, we gotta do this next year no matter what.”

Barkley has been making the same point for weeks. On May 23, he made no attempt to conceal his anger during an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show," telling Patrick that "morale sucks, plain and simple" among those at "Inside the NBA" and referring to his employers at TNT as "clowns" and "fools."

Barkley's discussion with Patrick came a day after TNT announced a deal with ESPN to broadcast a number of College Football Playoff games starting with the 2024 season.

Read more: No NBA deal yet for Warner Bros. Discovery, but David Zaslav is 'hopeful'

"You know, these people I work with, they screwed this thing up, clearly, and we don't have zero idea what's going to happen," Barkley said. "I don't feel good, I'm not going to lie, especially when they came out yesterday and said we bought college football. I was like, well damn, they could’ve used that money to buy the NBA.”

Barkley added: "We're just sitting back waiting on these people to figure out what they're going to do."

On an episode of the "SI Media with Jimmy Traina" podcast a week later, Barkley expressed similar frustrations about being left in the dark about the future of his show.

“Just say, ‘Hey, guys, we’re in the middle of negotiations. It’s 50-50.’ Just say something," Barkley said. "I mean, we have not discussed it. And not even just for me. The people who work there. They’re the ones on pins and needles. Just say something to let the people be able to breathe a little bit. I can’t imagine having a family and bills, because realistically, you probably gotta start looking for another job.”

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He added: “Just call me and say, ‘Hey, you know what? It’s going good,’ ‘It’s not going good.’ ... I’d feel better about that than not” hearing anything.

Barkley reiterated to Beadle and Decker that calling him would be the best way for anyone to break the news to him, particularly if it's bad news.

“If they fire me in person and I lose all that money, I might snap the hell out of somebody’s neck right on the spot," he said, laughing. "It’s probably best they call me from a distance."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.