Kenny Smith says Charles Barkley 'never' told him he was retiring, questions why he didn't thank cohosts


Charles Barkley’s retirement announcement came as a surprise to everybody, apparently, including his own cohosts on TNT.

The Hall of Famer made the revelation on NBA TV following Game 4 of the NBA Finals, saying that the 2024-25 season would be his last.

However, the announcement was unprovoked, Kenny Smith said.

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barkley smith

Charles Barkley, right, and Kenny Smith look on before the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers as part of the 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament on Dec. 7, 2023 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Mike Kirschbaum/NBAE via Getty Images)

“He never called me. He never told me,'” Smith told the New York Post. “He still hasn’t called me and told me, ‘Kenny, I’m retiring.'”

Barkley 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.

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley looks on during Capital One’s The Match IX at The Park West Palm on Feb. 26, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match)

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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.”

Throughout the announcement, Barkley did not thank his partners in Smith, Ernie Johnson or Shquille O’Neal, which Smith seems to have taken issue with. 

“I was just surprised he didn’t thank me, Ernie [Johnson] and Shaq. You’re going to retire and not thank us?” he said.

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.

Charles Barkley

NBA Hall of Fame Charles Barkley, left, speaks with “Entertainment Tonight” host Kevin Frazier on the practice green before the start of the second practice round at the ACC Golf Championship presented by American Century Investments on July 7, 2022 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline, Nevada. (David Calvert/Getty Images for American Century Investments)

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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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