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Charles Barkley Reveals Kobe Bryant Was Going to Join ‘Inside the NBA’

“During the regular season, you have to pump it up all week. That’s part of the gig, but Kobe didn’t want to do all that stuff. And it never worked out.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Charles Barkley spilled the beans on a secret that might get him called into the principal’s office at Turner Sports.

That secret? Turner had actually signed former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant to a deal to join TNT’s Inside the NBA studio crew.

Barkley admitted he might get in trouble for speaking about it while appearing on The Draymond Green Show this week, but he brought up the Bryant signing in the context of being in the final years of his TV career.

“You built yourself an amazing life,” Barkley said. “Why not enjoy the back nine?

Barkley explained that part of being involved with the NBA on TNT is an obligation to do a certain number of interviews and media appearances each week to promote the Thursday night telecasts. He said that was something Kobe overlooked prior to signing his name on a contract with Turner Sports.

“During the regular season, you have to pump it up all week,” Barkley said of the media appearances. “That’s part of the gig, but Kobe didn’t want to do all that stuff. And it never worked out.”

Barkley explained that during the regular season the actual in-studio schedule is pretty light, but that’s the reason why he, Shaquille O’Neal, and Ernie Johnson have to constantly do interviews. He said once the playoffs start, things get busier. But ultimately during the season, they’re only on TV once a week.

Still, when Bryant, who tragically passed in 2020, heard about the additional commitments beyond just being on TV, he didn’t want to be a part of that.

“He was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to do all this stuff,’” Barkley said. “He never came to work for us.”

Barkley has said publicly he will likely retire from TV in the next year or two. He told Green he wants to enjoy being a grandfather and eventually become a great-grandfather, as well as traveling the world.

Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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