Charles Barkley May Leave ‘Inside the NBA’ Before Contract Ends

Charles Barkley, the star of the NBA’s best TV show, says he’s tired of doing what he does best. Barkley tells SI that he’s not sure he’ll be able to stick around the “Inside the NBA” set until his current deal runs out: “I love my job,’ Barkley said. ‘I love the people I work with. And I’m going to try to do things to keep me engaged. But I have four years left on my current deal and to be honest with you, it’s going to be a struggle for me to make it for the whole four years. I really don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this. I need something more, or something else to do to be honest with you.’ […] The TNT NBA analyst has uttered similar things before — including plenty of talk about an Alabama gubernatorial run — but he offered extended remarks about needing a new challenge. ‘I only thought I would do this for three or four years but now I have been doing it for 13 years,’ Barkley said. ‘When I got to my fifth year of broadcasting I was like ‘OK, I’ll do this a couple of more years.’ But now I’m like, ‘Dude, you have been doing this for 13 years and if I make it to the end of the contract it will be 17 years.’ Seventeen years is a long time. It’s a lifetime in broadcasting. I personally have to figure out the next challenge for me.’ Last year Barkley told his Turner bosses that he needed something to re-engage him. He asked to do more games onsite as an analyst and last January Turner assigned Barkley to the Heat-Hawks game in Atlanta with Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller. Barkley loved it. ‘When I did the game with Kevin and Reggie I had a blast,’ Barkley said. ‘And judging by the feedback we got, I think the fans liked it too. I am excited to do that this year.’ Barkley is currently scheduled to call two games as a game analyst in the first half of the season. He’ll be in Miami for the Spurs at Heat (Nov. 29, 8 p.m. ET) and New York for Lakers at Knicks (Dec. 13, 8 p.m. ET). Asked for something in broadcasting he’d like to do before he moves on to another profession, Barkley said he wants to call a college basketball game with ESPN’s Dick Vitale. He even went so far as to tell his bosses at Turner about his wish. What was their response? ‘They kind of just blew me off a little bit,’ Barkley said. ‘But I don’t get my ego caught up with that. Dick does a great job with college basketball and we do a great job with the NBA. I just think it would be fun for Dick and I to do a game together.’”