‘Inside the NBA’ has long been one of the most popular and entertaining sports shows on television. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and host Ernie Johnson stand out in a crowded field for their candor, humor, and chemistry. While both Candace Parker and Draymond Green have been good additions, the mix of personalities is so important that Turner has been careful to make big changes.
Apparently the company did have one big addition in the mind before the plan fell through at the last second. According to Barkley, Kobe Bryant had agreed to join ‘Inside the NBA’ before eventually backing out.
Barkley told the story about Bryant’s apparent deal with TNT during a guest spot on Green’s podcast. “I’m probably going to get in trouble for telling you this,” Green said. “We actually hired Kobe Brant at Turner.”
Watch the full clip below.
Bryant’s deal with the network eventually fell through because he “didn’t want to do all the other bullshit,” according to Barkley. More specifically, he didn’t want to help promote the show on the radio and other platforms during his free time.
Can you imagine Kobe and Shaq reuniting on TNT? The bickering would have been out of control. O’Neal was already a full-time part of the show by the time Kobe retired after the 2015-16 season, which means Turner would have been pairing them in a professional setting once again. Hey, it worked pretty well for the Lakers until their relationship eventually fizzled out.
While most former athletes probably wouldn’t be a great fit for ‘Inside the NBA,’ Bryant would have been a huge fan favorite alongside the rest of the crew. You can watch Barkley’s full appearance with Green here:
Bryant’s untimely death alongside his young daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash remains incredibly sad. Most basketball fans would have loved to see Kobe on TNT.