Turner NBA analyst Charles Barkley caused a stir going into the league’s All-Star break when he repeated his assertion that he would retire from broadcasting once his contract expires in after the 2024 season.
Barkley has talked about retirement before, how he prefers not to work into his 60s and wants to enjoy his later years. But maybe most observers are taking those declarations more seriously now because the Hall of Famer is getting closer to the end of his contract.
Someone who was skeptical of Barkley’s retirement talk was ESPN’s Michael Wilbon. Wilbon knows Barkley well, having worked with him on two books and both living in Scottsdale, Arizona.
On Monday’s The Tony Kornheiser Show, Kornheiser asked Wilbon if he believed Barkley was serious about retirement.
“I believe he believes it now,” Wilbon said. “He’s said, ‘I’m not gonna spend my whole life doing this. I got a little life left in me; I’m not gonna do it.'”
Wilbon went on to explain that Barkley came over to his house for dinner recently. And he told Barkley to stop talking publicly about retirement if he wasn’t being serious. But Barkley insisted that he is serious and based on his demeanor, Wilbon believed he meant it.
Both Wilbon and Kornheiser expressed disbelief that Barkley would walk away from television when he’s still considered one of the best in his profession, makes more money than he did playing in the NBA, and is still enormously popular among fans and critics.
Yet Barkley sure seems to be eyeing the end of his broadcasting career. And if he’s come to terms with that, it’s arguably better to step aside than hang on too long while people point out that he’s not as good as he once was. Just because someone sees Barkley as living the kind of life most of us would dream of doesn’t mean that he’s not ready for a change, as much as all of us would like him to continue entertaining us.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at [email protected].
Howard Eskin: Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce Dating Rumors Are ‘All A Little Game’
“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast.'”
Whenever Taylor Swift performs a concert or goes out, there is generally a swarm of paparazzi that surrounds her. As one of the preeminent superstars in the world of music, there is considerable public interest in her life and upcoming projects. For years, fans of the artist have followed her dating life, which has included boyfriends such as Joe Jonas, John Mayer and Harry Styles.
Recently, many people are starting to believe that she could be dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce. In an appearance on Thursday’s edition of The Pat McAfee Show, Kelce was asked about the rumors and relayed that he invited her to a Chiefs game to watch him play.
“I’ve seen you rock the stage in Arrowhead [Stadium],” Kelce said his message read. “You might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit.”
Although Howard Eskin’s guest appearance on SportsRadio 94WIP took place before Kelce’s public comments, he diffused the dating rumors by recounting the situation that started the ensuing chain of events. Kelce attended Swift’s concert at Arrowhead Stadium and tried to pass along a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it to the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist. Since then, reports from The Messenger have indicated that Kelce and Swift have conversed and hung out several times. Additionally, Swift reportedly thinks that Kelce is “very charming,” and the duo is “seeing where things go.”
“She’s in Kansas City – he’s Travis Kelce,” Eskin said. “There’s people there, I’m sure, that handed her a number and she said, ‘Who is this?’ I would bet – yes – she doesn’t follow football.”
Amid his statement, Eskin was reminded that Swift is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, something she revealed at Lincoln Financial Field on her acclaimed slate of shows within “The Eras Tour.” The sports radio luminary then shared that Swift wore his Super Bowl LII ring after the team won the championship in 2018 and that he was invited to the premiere of the tour movie on Oct. 13 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Reacting to comments made by Philadelphia Eagles’ center Jason Kelce during in an interview with McAfee on Wednesday, he believes the disclosure of the dating rumors are helping fuel increased notoriety. Each week, the Kelce brothers record and release episodes of their podcast, New Heights, with Wave Sports + Entertainment, and Eskin thinks that reacting to the reports could equate to a simple publicity stunt.
“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast,’” Eskin said. “It’s all a little game. Entertainment Tonight did a story on Taylor Swift and her former boyfriend who was married to somebody else, and they played this small clip of the audio and said nothing because there is nothing to report other than Jason Kelce said, ‘I think it’s 100% true.’”
Steak Shapiro: Chris Russo’s Gummy Comment an ‘All-Time TV Moment’
“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’”
Steak Shapiro told his audience that he has been in the media business for a long time. What he saw on First Take on Wednesday was “one of the all-time TV moments that I have ever seen.”
That moment was Chris Russo’s admission that he will eat a THC gummy, drink a cocktail in the middle of the day and bet $10,000 on Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes to beat Oregon on Saturday.
“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’” He said Thursday morning on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.
He joked that promoting get drunk, betting thousands of dollars and taking drugs should be proof to critics that “ESPN ain’t that woke.”
Drew Butler, Shapiro’s co-host for the Thursday edition of The Steakhouse, said that what caught most people’s attention was the facial expressions and reactions of NFL analyst Marcus Spears.
He added that he was shocked to see something like that on ESPN, who just went through some very public layoffs which have drawn real criticism.
“They take a lot of heat for having to be righteous, politically correct, kind of milquetoast at times,” Shapiro agreed. “Listen, I don’t know that they’re related.”
He added that it would be different if Russo had said that he was going to roll a joint a get high. He said the afternoon that was described though is something that isn’t just unobjectionable to many, it is probably very appealing to a lot of people.
“Any women listening now may envision your husband just like this and any dude listening right now? Again, there’s plenty of guys that’ll wake up and run a marathon, right? Or just go hike for 4 hours. And that’s great, too,” he said. “But then there are other guys that want this out of their Saturday.”
“There’s certain entertainment in listening to a man who simply has nothing to lose,” Butler concluded.
Noah Eagle: I Don’t Know if Notre Dame Fans Expect Homer Call From NBC Crew
“I will be Neutral Noah, and that is the case throughout the year, no matter who we’re doing.”
This is the first year in a long time that Notre Dame fans have had to share NBC with other college football teams. The network is carrying Big Ten games every Saturday night. The two worlds collide this week when Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge call the Fighting Irish’s visit to Ohio State.
“Do Notre Dame fans understand that this is not going to be a homer broadcast this week and that Tom Hammond, Dick Enberg, Dan Hicks, Don Criqui, they’re not walking through that door?” Anthony Lima asked Eagle Thursday morning on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland.
Eagle said it is a question that could best be answered by Notre Dame fans, but he is a professional. Last week, he and Blackledge called Purdue vs. Syracuse, which is Eagle’s alma mater.
“I will be, as I said last week, when I got to call my alma mater, I will be Neutral Noah, and that is the case throughout the year, no matter who we’re doing,” he said.
He added that he isn’t really sure what it is Notre Dame fans expect from the broadcast on Saturday night. The Big Ten is now just as much a part of NBC’s sports portfolio as Fighting Irish football. He added that his only agenda is capturing the excitement of two top-ten teams facing off in an historic venue.
“I would quote the wonderful and amazingly talented Biggie Smalls that ‘if you don’t know, now you know,” Eagle said. “It’s going to be a neutral game. It’s going to be a neutral call. I mean, this is big time Saturday night.”