For a little while there appeared to be a chance NBA legend and TNT analyst Charles Barkley would join the Saudi-backed upstart LIV Golf league. But according to a new report from the New York Post, the potential Barkley-LIV partnership will not manifest.
A week ago, Barkley dined with LIV CEO Greg Norman to discuss a potential role, and Barkley agreed to tee it up in the pro-am at the LIV event at Trump Bedminster Thursday.
In an interview with the New York Post earlier in the week, Barkley revealed that due to the “risk” joining LIV would cause to his sponsorships and his current $30 million TNT deal, “it would have to be some serious money thrown my way” to get him to sign on.
On Monday, during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Barkley provided a few details about his dinner with Norman, saying “I don’t know anything to be honest with you. I met with Greg, he asked me if I was interested and I said ‘Of course, I’m here, I wouldn’t have had dinner with you if I wasn’t interested.’ I’m waiting for them to make me an offer, I guess. But it’s been very stressful on me.”
Barkley did indeed play the pro-am at Bedminster on Thursday, alongside pros Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen. But it appears the experience, and whatever offer LIV may or may not have made, was not enough to lure Barkley away from his TNT NBA gig.
“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me,” Barkley said in a phone interview with the New York Post. “I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner — because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life — It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.”
Though Barkley was likely a dream hire for LIV given his celebrity and broadcasting skill, they have had success drawing TV talent to the new league. Earlier this month, longtime NBC Golf on-course analyst David Feherty announced he was leaving NBC to work 8-10 LIV events per year.