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Charley Barkley plans to retire after TNT contract expires: ‘I don’t want to die on TV’

“I just don’t feel the need to work until the day I die,” Barkley said Tuesday.

TNT analyst Charles Barkley, seen here giving a speech at Temple University in 2018.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley, seen here giving a speech at Temple University in 2018.Read moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

It looks like Charles Barkley is sticking to his plan to retire from TNT when his contract expires.

In a conference call Tuesday, Barkley said he has two years remaining on his deal, which runs through the end of the 2024 season. After that, it’s goodbye television, so the former Sixers great can spent more time out in the links.

“I just don’t feel the need to work until the day I die,” Barkley said. “I’ll be 61 years old if I finish out my contract, and I don’t want to die on TV — I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting beside old [expletive] Shaq and drop dead.”

Barkley joined TNT in 2000 after retiring from the NBA, and has contemplated retiring many times. In 2019, Barkley said he was seriously considering to walk away from his role on TNT’s popular Inside the NBA before his contract expired.

“I think about it every year. I’m not going to work [expletive] forever. I can promise you that,” Barkley told the Inquirer at the time.

Barkley’s comments come as he and his longtime TNT colleagues Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Shaq prepare to host an alternate broadcast of the NBA All-Star game on Sunday on TBS in the style of ESPN’s popular Manningcast.

“We have zero idea what the hell we are doing Sunday, to be honest with you,” Barkley said Tuesday. “We’re just going to go on TV and have fun like we normally do.”

“We’re kind of like Peyton and Eli without getting paid,” Barkley jokingly added. “This is some [expletive] they added in the last couple of weeks.”

» READ MORE: James Harden makes it clear the Sixers were his ‘first choice’

Tracy McGrady doubts James Harden’s injury

New Sixers star James Harden won’t take the court alongside Joel Embiid and the rest of the team until next week at the soonest, as he continues to rehab his left hamstring.

But during TNT’s pregame show prior to the Sixers’ blowout loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, retired NBA star and former ESPN analyst Tracy McGrady suggested Harden might not be injured.

“We all know Philly was his first choice before he went to Brooklyn, so when things hit the fan, he wanted out of there,” McGrady said. “He shut it down. He wasn’t hurt.”

McGrady is referring to Harden’s final six games with the Nets, which he missed due to injury. TNT analyst and former NBA star Dwayne Wade appeared to agree with McGrady, pointing to footage of Harden doing step-back jump shots during practice with the Sixers on Tuesday.

“You don’t rehab a hammy by doing step-backs,” McGrady said.

“He had some things to get off his chest,” Wade interjected. “He got it off a little bit.”

While Harden isn’t playing, he sat courtside with the team during Tuesday’s loss and rang the bell at the Wells Fargo Center prior to the game. His outfit garnered some comments from TNT’s studio crew.

“It’s a pea coat and a suit connected... it’s a pea suit,” Wade said.

“It looks like the tailor said, ‘I’ll finish it tomorrow,’ " TNT Tuesday night anchor and Philadelphia native Adam Lefkoe joked.

» READ MORE: Daryl Morey believes Sixers are now ‘well-positioned to go on a run’

Quick hits

  1. There were a lot of opinions thrown around casually about Ben Simmons and his comments about his mental health struggles. On TNT Tuesday night, Dwayne Wade was among those to support the former Sixers star. “I know what they’re saying out there, but I got the chance to get to know this young man, and I got a chance to be around him this summer. He become a mentor to my son, and I got the chance to see what he was going through mentally,” Wade said. “He seems to be in a better head space mentally.”

  2. NBA commissioner Adam Silver isn’t thrilled how the Sixers-Nets trade went down. “Players forcing their way out of situations is not new in this league. It’s important to have that context,” Silver told Yahoo Sports. “I’d love to find a way where to the extent there’s player movement, it didn’t happen in that fashion... I accept that there will always be conversations behind closed doors, when teams are unhappy, or players are unhappy, [but] the last thing you want to see is for these issues to play out publicly.”

  3. Credit to NFL Films for capturing the moment following the Super Bowl when Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson was told his wife was in labor.

  1. The U.S.-Canada gold medal women’s hockey game will air live Wednesday at 11:05 p.m. on NBC and Peacock. My colleague Jonathan Tannenwald has all the broadcast details for Wednesday’s Winter Olympics coverage.