Charles Barkley has terminated all future contract negotiations with LIV Golf and will remain with TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” Barkley told the Post.
“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me,” Barkley said in a phone interview. “I wish these guys much success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest and to be fair to Turner – because Turner and basketball have given me everything in my life. It’s best for me to move on and I’m sticking with Turner for the rest of my television career.
Barkley said his decision had nothing to do with the support of LIV Golf by the Saudi Public Investment Fund,
This week, at LIV’s event at Trump National in Bedminster, 9/11 groups protested over Saudi Arabia’s connection to the terror attack.
Barkley has three years and $30 million remaining on his TNT contract. Along with the $10 million a year he makes from TNT, he said on ‘The Dan Patrick Show’ last week that he makes an additional $10 million from endorsements including Subway, Capital One and Dick’s Sporting Goods. .
“My No. 1 priority is to be fair to Turner and my sponsors, to be honest with you,” Barkley said. “I couldn’t keep them, so I made my decision (Thursday) evening. I was like, ‘Make a decision and live with it.'”
On Thursday, he attended LIV’s pro-am event at Trump National. He said he enjoyed it.
“I sat down with a few [LIV] people,” Barkley said. “I said to them, ‘When I told you I was going to talk to you today, one way or another and I always keep my word. I’m not going to be unfair to Turner. I don’t I’m not going to be unfair to my sponsors. That’s the decision – and that’s it.
The Greg Norman-led LIV Tour has signed big-name golfers, like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka for hundreds of millions, but it has yet to secure a television deal in the United States. It is currently streaming on YouTube and other free sites.
When Norman and Barkley met last week for dinner in Atlanta, Barkley came away feeling like a TV deal would happen.
There were various rumors about how much LIV might offer Barkley. In light of Fox Sports paying Tom Brady $37.5 million a year, Pat McAfee receiving over $30 million from FanDuel and Tony Romo and Troy Aikman at $18 million, there was a feeling LIV could do from Barkley an outrageous offer with the idea that it would help him get a television contract.
Turner has yet to make the decision to tear up Barkley’s deal or try to extend it. He has three years left on his TNT contract, which expires at the same time as the network’s deal with the NBA.
“I haven’t spoken to Turner, to be honest with you,” Barkley said. “I think they were nervous because everyone was throwing all these numbers around. I would obviously never try to drag them into a bidding war. I haven’t spoken to Turner.
The NBA Hall of Fame had previously made its feelings clear about accepting Saudi money. He reiterated that his decision had nothing to do with the end of negotiations.
“It has nothing to do with it,” Barkley said. “I told you, ‘I don’t like those words – ‘sportswashing’ and ‘blood money.’ I don’t like those words at all because every country, including the United States, has things going on that they need to improve.
Barkley, 59, has often said he wants to retire at the end of this contract. The timing of Barkley’s contract and TNT’s NBA deal could potentially provide more leverage as he is the kingpin of his iconic ‘Inside the NBA’.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Barkley said. “I don’t want to prolong my reception. I’ve been doing it for 21 years already. First of all, man, I’m almost 60 now. I’m very aware of my body disintegrating, like all older guys’ bodies disintegrate. I wish I was on vacation somewhere instead of sitting in Turner’s studio while I was wasting away. I don’t want to waste away on television.