Charles Barkley's funniest moments as he announces retirement from TNT (2024)

Already a Hall-of-Fame player, Charles Barkley is closing the door on his equally impressive broadcasting career with TNT Sports.

'I just want to say, I've talked to all the other networks, but I ain't going nowhere other than TNT,' Barkley told NBA TV after the Dallas Mavericks' Game 4 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

TNT is entering its final year with the NBA in 2024-25 after being outbid by NBC and Amazon in a reported $76 billon deal. And unless parent company Warner Bros. Discovery can find a way to buy into the pact at the 11th hour, TNT Sports will soon be without NBA rights for the first time since 1988.

And even if the company can pull off a miracle, Barkley intends to cap his run on TV at a quarter century: 'I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television.'

The somber moment on Friday was a rare one for Barkley, who has spent the last 24 years cracking up audiences and co-hosts in his Alabama drawl. The 61-year-old may be an 11-time All-Star, NBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist, but he'll be best remembered as basketball's funnyman, as seen in's look back at his truly unique broadcasting career:

TNT analysts, from left, Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson Jr., Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley

TNT Analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson talk on camera in 2010


An actor since childhood, the co-star of Fox's 'Empire' was caught orchestrating a hate-crime hoax in 2019.

Initially he said he was attacked by a group of racists outside his apartment, but Chicago police soon discovered that Smollett paid two Nigerian-American brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage the assault.

Making matters worse, Smollett paid the pair with a $3,500 check, which sparked some commentary between Barkley and co-hosts Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith.

'America, let me just tell you something,' Barkley said in February of 2019. 'Do not commit crimes with checks.'

It was at this time that another actor, Liam Neeson, ignited a debate by admitting to some rather racist thoughts decades earlier, when a friend of his was allegedly attacked by a black man.

Charles Barkley advised Jussie Smollett (left) to talk to Liam Neeson (right) back in 2019

As Neeson told the Independent: 'I went up and down areas with a [weapon], hoping I'd be approached by somebody - I'm ashamed to say that - and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [uses air quotes with fingers] ''black bastard'' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.'

The comment gave Barkley an idea, which he passed along to Smollett on TNT.

'You wasted all that damn time and money. You know what you shoulda did? Just went up in Liam Neeson's neighborhood,' Barkley said to an uproar of laughter from his co-hosts.

Smollett ultimately served only six days of his 150-day sentence for lying to Chicago police.


The Round Mound of Rebound has admittedly crossed the line over the years.

He apologized to then-NBC host Hannah Storm in 1997 for telling his Rockets teammates that women had no business covering men's sports – a comment he later called 'stupid and sexist.'

Barkley has also apologized to Beyoncé's mother, Tina Knowles, for criticizing the 'dirty water' along the shore of her native Galveston, Texas.

Read More Charles Barkley could go 'wherever he wants' if TNT loses NBA rights

But for the women of another Texas town, San Antonio, Barkley's pleas for forgiveness may have been less than sincere.

To Barkley, San Antonio was always a tough place to play because David Robinson and the Spurs were so fearsome in the 1990s. Coach Gregg Popovich continued that tradition with the Spurs after Barkley became a TNT analyst, winning five NBA titles.

'Listen listen, I'm telling you,' Barkley told his co-hosts in 2022. 'You know I think it is a great city… I think they got the best organization in the NBA.

Chuck wasn't finished.

'But they do have some big old women out there,' he added. 'I mean, come on now.'

The remark was a continuation of Barkley's ongoing criticism of the women of San Antonio.

He did ultimately offer an apology, but not one San Antonio would have appreciated.

'I want to apologize to the women of San Antonio,' Barkley told Johnson. 'Ernie, I had Churros last night.

'I see what all the excitement is about,' he said of the fried dough. 'Them damn things are good, Ernie. Them churros are good. I see why they got all them big ol' women down in San Antonio. Them churros are the bomb!'


Barkley has made a habit of telling NBA teams and their irrational fanbases when they 'suck.'

Sometimes he uses the word 'terrible,' which non-Alabaman viewers ridicule as 'tear-bull,' but he's also happy to stick with 'suck' wherever applicable.

And when approached by angry fans, he keeps it simple.

'They [say]: ''You think our team sucks,''' Barkley told the panel about Knicks fans during a down year in New York. 'I only think that because they suck.'

Other times Barkley enjoys dragging out his unscientific criticism of teams.

Charles Barkley, dressed up in his Texas outfit for a broadcast during the 2006 season

Chuck interacts with the Denver Nuggets mascot at the start of the 2023-24 NBA season

When the Knicks were struggling in 2018, Barkley told a humorous - and fictitious - story to illustrate his point.

'I left two [Knicks] tickets at the hotel for one of my family members, and when I got back to the hotel there was four tickets there,' Barkley joked.

In 2017, when the NBA began selling single games on its streaming app, Barkley couldn't help but poke fun of the lackluster $6.99 Bucks-Lakers matchup he was supposed to be promoting.

'Man,' Barkley interrupted Johnson, 'that should be more like a $1.99 game.

'Come on, man, y'all are ripping people off!' Barkley said. 'If y'all pay $6.99 for that, y'all are getting bamboozled.'

'That should be at the dollar store.'


Barkley was so certain that 7-foot-5 Houston Rockets rookie Yao Ming would flop in the NBA, he told Smith he would kiss his 'a**' if the Chinese center scored 19 points in any one game in 2002-03.

So when the moment inevitably happened, Smith hatched a plan to 'buy' a donkey, thereby replacing his own a** with a genuine one.

In the end, Barkley obliged and kissed the donkey's backside on live television.

And somewhat ironically, Ming would go on to average exactly 19 points a game over his illustrious and injury-plagued career.

Charles Barkley kisses Kenny Smith's donkey after losing a bet during the 2002-03 season

Barkley took issue with an overweight Lakers fan accusing him of overindulging on donuts


Until recently, when Barkley began losing weight on Ozempic, the Hall of Famer's battle with the bulge had been a regular topic of conversation on Inside the NBA.

Barkley, of course, can dish it out, too, so O'Neal frequently catches some shrapnel in these discussions.

And when one Lakers fan was bold enough to tweet a fat joke about Barkley, Sir Charles quickly turned the tables.

'@NBAonTNT Charles Barkley would pick Krispy Kreme donuts for the first pick [in the NBA Draft,' the fan wrote on Twitter.

Inside the NBA was breaking to commercial when the post was being shared on screen, but Barkley wasn't having any of it.

'Look at your fat a** too,' Barkley said after seeing an image of a rotund Lakers fan alongside the Twitter post. 'Put that dude's picture back up. Do not go to commercial break!

'He gonna talk about me eating donuts? Look at his fat a**. Look at his stomach.'

Charles Barkley's funniest moments as he announces retirement from TNT (2024)
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