In 2016, both Kobe Bryant and Charles Barkley will have big decisions to make. Bryant, if he hasn’t already retired, will contemplate returning to the Los Angeles Lakers or call it a career. Barkley will decide if he’d like to continue as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.
Barkley will more than likely stay with Turner. The Hall of Famer has a good thing going as the star attraction on NBA on TNT and is paid well for his services, but if he decides to leave, the network will need a viable replacement.
According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, Bryant might be the next target for Turner Sports if Barkley does decide to leave:
The truth is no one can replace Barkley, the most impactful and valuable studio analyst on sports television today. But there is a name out there who could have a Barkley-like impact on an NBA studio show or remote broadcast if he has interest in broadcasting as a post-NBA career.
His name is Kobe Bryant.
With Bryant openly admitting that early retirement has already crossed his mind, the notion that he replace Barkley isn’t as farfetched as it may seem. Kobe is obviously starting to think about life after basketball and joining the TNT crew might appeal to him.
Turner will need another big name with an unapologetic personality and Bryant might fit the bill. There’s no question that Barkley can’t be replaced. Barkley is as unique as the come with the ability to entertain with his humor and opinionated stances on players and teams in the league.
If Bryant is up to the task and willing to try something new, the five-time NBA champion might give it a try if given the opportunity. All signs point to Barkley returning, but if he doesn’t, Bryant might get a call.
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