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Could Charles Barkley walk away from Inside the NBA in two years?

Michael Holley and Mike Smith attempt to get to the bottom of the Sixers' collapse in Game 5 against the Hawks, and while Holley puts the blame on Doc Rivers, Smith thinks black coaches face a double-standard.

There are times Inside the NBA is brilliant — their barbershop style joking/ribbing conversation gives the show an unmatched flow — even if the old men’s basketball analysis tends toward “get off my lawn” and the desire to see everyone post up like it’s 1995. But, it’s also still one of the most watched, most influential NBA shows.

Charles Barkley is at the heart of making it all work... but how much longer does he want to do this? From an appearance this week on 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C., via Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated:

“You can’t even have fun nowadays without these characters trying to get you canceled and things like that.… I’m trying to hang on for another couple of years until I’m 60 and then they can kiss my ass. I’m only working until 60. I’ve already told them that. I’m not working until the day I die. That’s just stupid. And if I don’t have enough money by now, I’m an idiot, anyway. They should fire me, anyway.

“That’s all we ever talk about behind the scenes like, ‘Yo, man, be careful going in this direction.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, man, we can’t even have fun anymore.’ We’ve had fun all these years and now all of a sudden in the last year and a half, everybody is trying to get everybody fired and it really sucks.”

Charles Barkley is currently 58, and if he’s serious and going to follow through on the age 60 thing, then it’s a couple more years.

The unfiltered nature of the conversation on Inside the NBA is what makes it work, but this is not an unfiltered world anymore (and that’s not a bad thing). More than age, it feels like Barkley would walk away if he’s not having fun anymore, and maybe he isn’t having as much fun as he used to.

But that’s still a big check and a big microphone to walk away from.