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Charles Barkley Eyeing Finish to TNT Career: ‘I’m On the ‘Back Nine’ of Life’

“I’m not worried about death, I don’t think about death, but I’m smart enough to know if I’m 60 years old, I’m closer to death than I am to the front line.”

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A career total of 23,757 points. Add 12,456 rebounds. With 4,215 assists. And 11 All-Star selections. It is safe to say Charles Barkley has the numbers to back his being named a member of the National Basketball Association’s 75th Anniversary Team.

Following his 16-year professional career, during which he suited up for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets, Barkley joined the NBA on TNT upon his retirement in 2000 as an analyst on its award-winning studio show Inside the NBA. 21 years later, Barkley, 59, intends to finish out the remaining two years on his contract with Turner Sports and subsequently retire from working in television.

Barkley has provided basketball fans an innumerable amount of memorable moments, whether it be on the court or in the studio alongside host Ernie Johnson and co-analysts Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. At this stage in his life, though, Barkley wants to focus on being there for his family, which will soon welcome a new grandchild, along with enjoying his lifestyle, which includes playing golf and traveling the world.

With the recent addition of Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green to the pool of NBA on TNT analysts, along with the existence presences of Candace Parker and Dwyane Wade, Barkley’s replacement could very well come from in-house. As he explained Friday on 850 ESPN Cleveland’s morning drive program The Really Big Show, Barkley is ready for the transition and eager to see what lies ahead in his life.

“Once you’re a grandparent, you are officially old, so I’m excited about that [and my grandchild’s birth is] going to be the greatest day of my life,” said Barkley.

“I’m smart enough to know that I’m on the ‘back nine’ of life. I want to enjoy – whenever the big fella comes get me; I’m not worried about death, I don’t think about death, but I’m smart enough to know if I’m 60 years old, I’m closer to death than I am to the front line.”

Barkley is currently in Cleveland for the NBA All-Star Weekend festitivies and looking forward to seeing old friends and NBA legends, along with current NBA players named to the 75th anniversary team such as Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LeBron James.

During the game, which is set to begin Sunday at 8 p.m. EST, Turner Sports will present an alternate viewing experience broadcast on TBS called Inside the All-Star Game. It will feature Barkley and the rest of the Inside the NBA crew talking about the game, interacting with fans and players and, of course, the Sports Emmy award-winning crew bantering throughout the night.

One thing Barkley will not be doing, however, is trying to dunk a basketball – so don’t expect to see that if you tune in.

“The only dunking [for me] is going down at Dunkin Donuts,” said Barkley. “I would be afraid to try to explode and dunk right now because I know – ankles, knees – something would break. I would be afraid to try to explode on my old legs and dunk a basketball.”

Aside from his role on television, Barkley wants to genuinely enjoy this weekend in Cleveland as society attempts to return to some form of pre-pandemic normalcy. Part of that will be through attending NBA All-Star Weekend parties ahead of the showdown between Team LeBron and Team Kevin Sunday night.

“All the great players have a party, and trying to get in the different parties is the funnest part,” said Barkley. “I know LeBron’s guys had a party last night. We couldn’t go to it because we were on the air, [but] I expect a bunch of guys will be having parties tonight.”

Barkley has been on a weight-loss program, dropping 50 pounds by eating one meal a day between 5 and 8 p.m., and has started playing golf every day for the first time in 25 years. Additionally, his wardrobe has consisted of brighter colors as of late, a change from the “all-black closet” he had when his weight would fluctuate. In short, Barkley is “starting to feel like a human being,” and hopes to live life to the fullest, especially once his television contract expires.

“I just want to enjoy the backside of my life; being a grandpa, traveling the world,” said Barkley. “I’m going to work out these last two years on my deal and thank the NBA for everything they’ve given me; TNT and Nike and everybody, and just enjoy the back nine of life.”

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Dan Patrick: ‘I Want Buccaneer Tom, Not Patriot Tom On Fox’

“‘Buccaneer Tom’ is ‘Vacation Tom.’ That guy’s having a good time.”

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A lot of people have compared the deal FOX signed with Tom Brady to the one NBC signed with Drew Brees before the former Saints quarterback finished his playing days. FOX is set to pay Brady $375 million for his services. That means the network better be right about their faith in the quarterback.

Drew Brees faced a lot of criticism this year. Some have speculated that the reason he is not joining Mike Tirico in the Sunday Night Football booth this season is that he is too boring to be the network’s league analyst.

Dan Patrick says he has a similar concern about Tom Brady. Landing the greatest quarterback of all time is a win for FOX, but we have seen two very different Tom Bradys in his career. If the wrong one shows up, Patrick says this investment could be a disaster for FOX.

“I worry sometimes that if we get ‘Patriot Tom’ instead of ‘Buccaneer Tom,’” Dan Patrick said on his Wednesday show. “‘Buccaneer Tom’ is ‘Vacation Tom.’ That guy’s having a good time. ‘Two-Drink Tommy;’ that I like. But if he does the Patriot Way, that’s not going to be good.”

As he has gotten older, Tom Brady has been more willing to show off his personality. Most famously, he cut loose at the boat parade celebrating the Tampa’s Super Bowl title in 2021.

Dan Patrick wondered if Tom Brady would be aware of the standard for succes in broadcasting. Would he know that entertainment matters? He pointed out that Brady’s social media accounts tend to be pretty funny, but they are likely either manned or at least aided by staff writers.

“Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you can tell us how to do it, and I think that is gonna be the interesting part,” Patrick said.

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Travis Rodgers: ‘Celebrities At SoFi Stadium Make Rams A Better Primetime Fit For NFL’

“You go to a game and it’s, ‘Wow, there’s LeBron; there’s DiCaprio; there’s this.’ Damn, what more can you ask for from this franchise?”

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Tuesday on 710 ESPN Radio Los Angeles, Travis and Sliwa discussed how the NFL is consistently able to fabricate non-game events into must-follow action, generating ratings and revenue during the nearly seven-month long offseason. The special promoting the release of the full 2022 season schedule is on Thusday night is a good example..

“I’m sure we’re going to be 10 weeks into the NFL season [and say], ‘Man, that team didn’t turn out the way we thought it would,’ [or] ‘Oh, that team is better than we thought it’s going to be,’” said show co-host Allen Sliwa. “That’s what kind of makes this part of the year sort of exciting – that you start finding out what the matchups are.”

Nonetheless, the NFL has been able to captivate fans through making a spectacle of offseason events. This includes the impending primetime television schedule release special by the league, rather than simply divulging the week-by-week matchups with minimal grandeur and melodrama.

“They’re so good at turning things that aren’t games into things,” said show co-host Travis Rodgers. “The draft is a huge thing; the combine is a thing; the schedule release is a thing; free agency is a thing; training camps are a thing.”

While the NFL schedule may not yet be fully released, some primetime matchups have been announced in advance, potentially to pique the interest of fans, media partners and the players themselves. It is safe to say that the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams will receive much of the primetime action across the NFL’s remodeled slate of broadcasts during the 2022 season. In fact, it was recently announced that the Rams will be playing on Christmas Day against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos on a game simulcast on CBS and Paramount+, along with the inclusion of a special viewing presentation on Nickelodeon sure to include the network’s signature slime.

Aside from the team’s success on the field though, there exist other reasons why the current moment is an opportune time to schedule the Rams to play games in primetime.

“I’m telling you – the Rams are really good,” said Rodgers. “They play in a place that’s got great visuals. There’s going to be celebrities in the stands. A brand new stadium. Everybody likes coming to L.A. This is the place you’re going to have people come over and over.”

It was not always guaranteed that the NFL would be willing to return to the City of Angels, and if the league would be welcomed back. Yet since the construction of the $5.5 billion-SoFi Stadium complete with NFL Network studios within new league headquarters combined with the early success of both the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, the reincarnation of football in southern California has been largely prosperous thus far.

“It’s almost like icing on the cake,” said Sliwa. “The NFL is the NFL either way. But the brand the Rams have created over a short period of time, and… the visuals. You go to a game and it’s, ‘Wow, there’s LeBron; there’s DiCaprio; there’s this.’ Damn, what more can you ask for from this franchise?”

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Tom Millikan Upped To APD of 97.1 The Ticket

“Listeners might not agree with my opinions or show content all of the time, but I genuinely try to produce shows that Detroit sports fans want every single day.”

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Detroit

Congratulations are in order for Tom Millikan. The executive producer of The Morning Show with Stoney and Jansen has been promoted to assistant program director of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit.

“Tom has done an outstanding job as an executive producer and has played a vital role in the success of the station,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Detroit. “He is very deserving of this promotion and we look forward to even greater success with Tom in his new role.”

Millikan has been a steady presence in Detroit sports talk since 1998. He has been with The Ticket since 2012. In that time, he has served as an affiliate relations manager for coverage of the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons. He has also been involved with Michigan Wolverines broadcasts on sister station WWJ AM.

“Throughout my twenty plus years in radio, I’ve been blessed with countless memories of championships and pure joy,” said Millikan. “I’m living out a dream. I wanted to work in sports radio since the format exploded in the early 90s and I’ve been blessed by the tutelage of all of my co-workers and peers. I was born and raised in Detroit and Detroit sports are part of my DNA. Listeners might not agree with my opinions or show content all of the time, but I genuinely try to produce shows that Detroit sports fans want every single day.”

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