Kobe Bryant Charles Barkley
Kobe Bryant the TNT or ESPN NBA analyst That has a nice, entertaining ring to it. Richard Deitsch of SI.com believes Bryant could command $4-5 million per season as an analyst for ESPN or Fox Sports.

According to Deitsch, Bryant could even replace Charles Barkley on the set of TNT’s "Inside the NBA" one day.
If Charles Barkley is serious about leaving sports broadcasting when his current contract with Turner Sports expires in 2016, 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.

If Bryant indicates he is serious about a broadcasting career after his NBA career ends, industry sources say he’d command $4-5 million annually if not more because there would be a heavy competition for his services. ESPN (whose studio show is based in L.A.) and Turner are guaranteed to be interested.

“He’s obviously smart and articulate and he would be a great candidate,” said Turner Sports senior vice president and executive creative director Craig Barry. “But like any job there is a certain amount of passion that the person needs to have for the day to day. That element of passion and wanting to share the game is a huge part of being able to connect with the viewer. That’s a huge part of being a successful broadcaster and I think Kobe would be great at it. But he would have to want to do it.”
Deitsch believes Barkley will re-sign with Turner Sports, but some of the better reporters, analysts and writers around believe Bryant would be just as successful analyzing the game as he was as a player.

“If he chose to do it he’d be incredible,” said ESPN Los Angeles senior writer Ramona Shelburne, who has covered the Lakers since 2003. “He’s sarcastic, smart, insightful, fearless. Think the player version of Jeff Van Gundy. I’m not sure he’s fun enough for the typical NBA pre and postgame show. The guys that thrive there are the ones who always sat around in a locker room after a game, BS-ing with other players and reporters or coaches. I’ve seen Kobe do that from time to time, but only when he’s soaking his feet in an ice bucket. The rest of the time, he’s all business … He is singularly focused on basketball. That level of focus has keeps him at a distance from a lot of people. Yes, he forms friendships with players around the league, but they are the ‘mutual admiration’ kind of friendships. I think that distance is actually what would make him a great broadcaster. If he’s able to call Pau Gasol his ‘brother’ in one moment and then tell him he needs to put his ‘big boy pants on’ in another moment, just think about what he might say with a player he didn’t like and admire.”

Deitsch indicated that Shaquille O’Neal could hinder Bryant from eyeing a gig at TNT. Bryant also is big into building his brand, and may simply choose to be a businessman after basketball.

By Glenn Erby


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