‘Not My Life. Not Ernie’s Life. Not Kenny’s Life. Not Shaq’s Life. But...': Charles Barkley Took An Interview In An Elevator To Explain Why Losing Inside The NBA Is Actually A Huge Deal

 Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA.
Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA.

Much has been said about the supposed cancellation of TNT’s Inside the NBA as of late amid the continuing negotiations for the broadcast rights to the professional basketball league. At present, multiple entertainment entities are vying for a piece of the pie, and it’s looking more likely that Warner Bros. Discovery (which owns the aforementioned network). With that, it’s looking more likely that the conglomerate won’t have the necessary cash to renew its deal with the league. The co-hosts of the show themselves have remained relatively quiet about the road ahead, though Charles Barkley has had no problem weighing in. To that point, he even took an interview to an elevator to share more thoughts on why this situation is a huge deal.

For anyone who has followed the “Round Mound of Rebound’s” playing and broadcasting careers, it’s probably not surprising to hear that he’s been open about Inside’s uncertain future. Nevertheless, I’m not sure anyone would’ve predicted the lengths he would go to speak his piece on the subject. Following Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals in Minneapolis last week, he was so eager to speak with a New York Times reporter that he ushered her into an elevator for a chat. The hall of famer’s colleagues were also apparently in the lift at the time.

Tania Ganguli noted in her write-up that Charles Barkley’s co-workers weren’t too comfortable with the situation. Kenny “The Jet” Smith was allegedly very unhappy with the situation. He argued that Ganguli should’ve gone through the proper channels (mainly Turner Broadcasting) before conducting an interview. Amid the chat, Barkley apparently responded to Smith by saying, “Hey, man, I can talk to who I want to,” and purportedly used an expletive when making his point. When explaining to Ganguli why he felt so inclined to speak to her, he cited his peers who work behind the scenes:

It’s people’s lives. Not my life. Not Ernie’s life. Not Kenny’s life. Not Shaq’s life. But all the people who work here. We probably have 100 people who do work on the show. So they’re, like, real people. I’ve seen their kids born, graduate high school, graduate college.

The former NBA MVP shared similar thoughts during another interview, where he declared that the current situation “sucks.” During that interview with SiriusXM, he emphasized that he personally has “enough money” but cares about his co-workers who would lose their jobs. The ex-Phoenix Sun’s comments arrive as TNT has allegedly opted not to schedule interviews for the Inside the NBA’s quartet of hosts. Later in his talk with the Times, the 61-year-old TV personality added another thought:

I love my job. Been working with these people for 24 years, we have a lot of fun together. And we’re hoping it continues. We’re hoping, but we have no control over it.

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Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA
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As for the negotiations, the league is reportedly aiming to finalize deals with Amazon Prime Video, ABC/ESPN and NBC for the three slices of the broadcast rights. The third of those entertainment entities managed to swoop in with a pricey bid after Warner Bros. Discovery opted not to pay, as it was reportedly taken aback by the inflated cost for the rights. As of right now, its current deal with the NBA expires after the 2024-2025 season, meaning that if a new agreement isn’t reached, Inside would end around this time next year.

Fans have shared various messages in social media in support of the show, which debuted in 1989. A number of them have been trying to make the case for the sports staple’s existence by sharing funny clips from Inside the NBA’s run. Others have also (somewhat) made peace with the notion that there may be only one more season on the way. They’ve even found the obvious silver lining in that a send-off season could see the analysts go all out with the wackiness. And, honestly, such a slate of episodes could feature wilder antics than Shaq getting shoved into a Christmas tree or Chuck discussing the “big women of San Antonio.”

Various people are sure to have thoughts on Charles Barkley’s latest round of comments and the unconventional way in which he shared them. What seems more than evident is that he isn’t going to back down from sharing his feelings, though. And that appears to be particularly when it comes to how Inside the NBA’s cancellation would impact other staff members.