It sounds like NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is seriously considering joining the LIV Golf tour as a broadcaster. After meeting with tour CEO Greg Norman on Wednesday, Barkley confirmed he would play in the next LIV event, according to the New York Post.
The two reportedly had dinner together in Atlanta. Norman was expected to pitch Barkley on joining LIV Golf as a broadcaster during that meeting. Barkley confirmed as much Thursday, saying he would meet with Norman to discuss the role.
Barkley playing in the pro-am does not guarantee he will join the tour as a broadcaster, but he signals he has no qualifications about being associated with the league. A number of big-name golf stars jumped from the PGA Tour to the LIV in recent weeks. LIV Golf, which is backed by $2 billion in Saudi Arabian government funding, has shelled out massive amounts of money to draw talent. Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson are among the biggest names to join LIV Golf.
The league has faced criticism due to Saudi Arabia’s awful record of human rights abuses. Golfers who jumped from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf have been banned from PGA events. Some golfers have lost sponsorships over the decision to join. Those consequences are offset by the money the LIV can offer. Mickelson reportedly signed a deal worth around $200 million to join the tour.
Will Charles Barkley join LIV Golf as a broadcaster?
Barkley should also be in for a massive payday if he decides to join LIV Golf. Barkley reportedly has a three-year, $30 million contract with TNT as an NBA analyst, according to the Post. LIV Golf could probably blow that offer out of the water.
If it does, Barkley will have to make the same decision as many of the golfers who jumped to LIV golf: How much money is enough to deal with the backlash? If Barkley accepts the offer, TNT will also have a decision to make: Can Barkley remain on the network while inviting controversy due to his role with LIV Golf?
Barkley has proven over his career that he doesn’t really care about backlash. His willingness to play in the pro-am is yet another example of that. If he decides to make it official and join LIV Golf as a broadcaster, he’s probably already prepared for what comes next.