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Stephen A Smith not buying Charles Barkley’s retirement: ‘I just think he’s p—ed off’

Charles Barkley calling it quits? Not so fast.

One of his fellow media moguls isn’t quite buying it – in fact, Stephen A. Smith said it’s just a quick reaction to the TNT and NBA television coverage dilemma.

“I’m not in any way calling Charles Barkley a liar. I think that Charles Barkley is very sincere. I just don’t think it’s gonna happen. I don’t think Charles Barkley is leaving,” Smith said on his podcast earlier this week.

TNT is on the verge of losing out on the NBA after nearly four decades of coverage, and Barkley’s criticism of TNT’s big wigs has been loud.

“That is the Charles Barkley you’re hearing right now. A Charles Barkley that loves the people he works with. That loves a lot of the bosses he worked for. That loves some of the colleagues he worked with on the air and behind the scenes. It’s a family over there to him. And he can’t imagine wanting to be somewhere else, working with or for somebody else while those people are looking for a job…” Smith continued.

“I’m not saying he’s lying. I’m saying, don’t believe he’s gone for good. Don’t believe it. I don’t believe it for one second,” he quipped. “His voice is too powerful. It’s too influential, it’s too enjoyable. And he loves the game of basketball too much. He ain’t 80! He’s still got a lot of life left in him. So I don’t think for one second this is gonna be the end. I just think he’s p—-d off at the way colleagues at TNT are being thrown out to pasture.”

Charles Barkley smiles at The Match


Barkley, 61, made the revelation on NBA TV following Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night. He said that regardless of whether TNT is able to continue broadcasting games beyond next season, he intends to “pass on the baton.” 

“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. But I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television,” Barkley said.

“And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me,” he continued.  “My heart is full with joy and gratitude, but I’m going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me personally, because I’m not doing anymore interviews.”

Charles Barkley in Arizona

The current deals with ABC-ESPN and Turner Sports expire after next season, and the NBA has been talking with NBC, ESPN and Amazon, among other networks and platforms, about what will come next.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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