Charles Barkley Says He Got Fed Up and Turned Off ESPN: ‘What Kinda Idiots Are Running This Network?’

Charles Barkley’s time on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” might be coming to an end, meaning fans of professional basketball will be without the banter between him, fellow legendary players Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith, as well as iconic TNT host Ernie Johnson.

But the expected end of the beloved program will not stop the 1993 NBA MVP from sharing his thoughts on sports and especially from sharing criticism of those who cover them – particularly basketball.

Friday morning, ESPN drew the ire of Barkley, which aired Game 1 of the NBA Finals on ABC between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night and will also air the Stanley Cup Finals on ESPN throughout the next week or so.

The first game from Boston game wasn’t close from the jump (the Celtics drubbed the Mavs 107-89, and the game wasn’t as close as that score indicates), but that wasn’t what irked Barkley.

The basketball analyst and former NBA great joined Outkick host Dan Dakich on Friday, where he called those who run ESPN “idiots” for spending an inordinate amount of time talking about everything but the game before tipoff.


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Barkley’s complaints centered on a lengthy discussion on the network about who could become the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after the May firing of then-coach Darvin Ham.

According to reports and endless speculation, UConn Huskies men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley is the favorite to take over in L.A.

ESPN spent a lot of time discussing the potential hire Thursday while the first game of a series that will decide the NBA championship was set to begin.

Barkley told Dakich he was not at all pleased by ESPN’s unrelenting coverage of the Lakers’ coaching situation during the game.

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“I was so pissed with Game 1 of the Finals and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals coming on, for them to spend the first hour talking about, ‘What if Danny Hurley goes to the Lakers,’ I was so pissed yesterday I had to turn my TV off,” he said.

Barkley added, “This is how stupid they are. Y’all got the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals, and y’all talking about a team that is currently irrelevant.

“Whoever’s doing that program has to be the stupidest, most boneheaded people in the world,” Barkley added.


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He concluded, “Who in the hell is running their programming over there?”

Barkley savaged the coverage of Hurley as “speculation” and said he asked himself Thursday, “What kind of idiots are running this network?”

He explained that he was fond of Hurley and that there was a time and place to discuss coaching vacancies.

But he said the lead-up to the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals was not that time for such a discussion, especially when it involves a team that meekly exited the playoffs in the first round.

“That was crazy,” he said. “I just thought it was so stupid of ESPN yesterday, Barley added. “Ya’ll got the biggest game of the NBA season coming on tonight and ya’ll spend the first hour talking about if Danny Hurley goes to the Lakers.”

Barkley concluded his remark with one of his trademark “Come on, man” reactions.

ESPN will have the chance to discuss the Lakers more or to actually discuss Game 2 of the NBA Finals before it tips off on Sunday.

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