Charles Barkley on speaking to press: 'I can talk to who I want'

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Former basketball star and television personality Charles Barkley is voicing his displeasure with WarnerBros. Discovery, the media conglomerate that employs him as an analyst for NBA games.

Barkley this week pushed past security and public relations officials to grant an interview with a New York Times reporter after Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in Minnesota.

After Kenny Smith, one of Barkley’s fellow analysts on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” suggested the reporter go through a public relations official for the company to speak with him, Barkley shot back.

“Hey, man, I can talk to who I want to,” Barkley told Smith, the Times reported.

Barkley then told the reporter not to “worry” about Smith and voiced his displeasure with recent headlines and chatter across the sports media industry that WBD is likely to lose out on the next round of NBA rights.

“It’s people’s lives,” Barkley told the Times. “Not my life. Not Ernie’s life. Not Kenny’s life. Not Shaq’s life. But all the people who work here. We probably have 100 people who do work on the show. So they’re, like, real people. I’ve seen their kids born, graduate high school, graduate college.”

The basketball analyst has been vocal in his displeasure with WBD’s leadership over failure to secure the next round of NBA rights. Barkley last year signed a 10-year contract with the media conglomerate.

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