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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.”

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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