Barkley joins “The ETCs” podcast with KD and Eddie to discuss his old job, his current job, and what lies ahead for his utterly unique career.
When Charles Barkley sat down in TNT’s Atlanta studios to chat with Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast with Kevin Durant and Eddie Gonzalez, he was professional as always — prompt, in a checked blue dress shirt and beaming with energy. But as has been typical in Charles’ 58 years of life, he was also decked out in two workplace staples for the 11-time NBA All-Star and four-time Sports Emmy winner: shorts and sneakers.
“I get paid to watch basketball,” Chuck said through a bright smile. “I got the best job in the world.”
After his first Hall of Fame career, Barkley began a journey that has made him one of (if not the) premier voices in the NBA. Fans tune in for his banter with his colleagues, his mispronunciation of names, his blunt perspectives on the NBA and college basketball today, and just Charles being Charles.
The man who once famously declared he was not a role model has become a template of sorts for life after basketball, both helping tell the story of the sport he loves so dearly on the biggest stage possible, and kicking open doors for players that came after him to follow in his footsteps.
“I love basketball. It’s given me every single thing in my life,” Barkley said on the latest episode of “The ETCS” that premiered Wednesday. “I don’t have any idea what I’d be doing without basketball.”
But now, Barkley is eying a life after basketball, just like he did 21 years ago when his playing career ended. Retirement is looming, and this time, instead of that being a reality-smacking-you-in-the-face moment, Barkley is embracing the transition.
“The end is close; I have to be realistic,” he said. “I’m gonna die someday. I don’t want to die working — I want to enjoy the back nine of life. I’m not trying to be morbid or whatever. I’m 58 years old. I want to work ‘til I’m 60. I don’t want to be working ‘til the day I die. I want to enjoy all this damn hard work I put in. Obviously, I’m blessed to be in this situation, but I don’t want to be clocking in at 69, 70 years old.”
But he’s not there yet, as Barkley settles into another season of covering the NBA for TNT and college hoops for Turner, and he’s enjoying every minute of it. As always, just like with the shorts and the sneakers in the studio, basketball remains the center of his universe.
“I don’t have any idea what I’d be doing without basketball,” Barkley said.
But now, after all these years in basketball, he finally has an idea what he’ll be doing after it.
“I want to be on the golf course, traveling the world, traveling the country. I want to enjoy myself.”
And it’s a safe bet he’ll be doing just that.