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As ESPN Threatens to Permanently Shut Doors on NBA Millionaires Again, Is Charles Barkley’s “Nervous” Claim Becoming a Reality?

Published 09/27/2023, 1:48 AM EDT

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The demise of sports analysis might continue on. Due to the mass exodus at ESPN, the biggest story of the summer was the future of the company. However, things appear a lot calmer now. But, alas, the peace wasn’t to be. Even though Charles Barkley gave a trademark Guarantee, the downfall of the media giant feels more apparent than ever.

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But, why is leading man Stephen A. Smith’s role in the company suddenly under jeopardy?

Stephen A. Smith’s employers suffer a massive blow


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A subsidiary of Walt Disney, ESPN has been around since 1979. But, it might be facing its most tumultuous period yet. While the layoffs by Disney led to more  than 20 on-air personalities losing their jobs, another disastrous situation seems imminent. This time around, it involves the live studios for ESPN. According to insider Dov Kleiman, the company is planning to shut down 2 of its premier studios. Firstly, the Seaport Studio in New York seems to have an expiration date of 2025. Apparently, the Los Angeles based studios are in a similar predicament. As a result, potential consequences could be severe.

While it could lead to further layoffs, another major problem has to be taken into consideration.


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These two locations are responsible for some of ESPN’s biggest coverage shows, like First Take, Get Up, and NBA Countdown.

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Stephen A. Smith is famously the face of First Take and most of the NBA coverage on ESPN. As such, his role in the company feels the most in jeopardy if his studio were to lose these locations.

Could the Chuckster‘s prophecy come true?

Charles Barkley – the fortune teller

Just over a month ago, the Philadelphia 76ers legend was unsure about the place for ESPN on the market.


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While talking about his tenure as a sports commentator, Barkley was adamant about staying on board for the next 2 years. However, the Chuckster couldn’t be sure about the future after that.

According to him, there were too many variables with streaming giants like Apple and Amazon swooping in to snatch TV deals. Further, he feels that the imminent loss of these services might be making the status quo “nervous”.

Perhaps, current standard-bearers like ESPN and TNT could fall by the wayside. If not, the Phoenix Suns legend has made his feelings about working at ESPN abundantly clear.


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With ESPN out of the option, what could be next in line for Chuck? At the same time, what fate awaits Stephen A. Smith and ESPN?

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Written by:



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Priyanshu is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. Basketball has been his favorite sport for over a decade, and he has written close to 300 articles. If asked what he loves about the sport, Priyanshu would cite the technique, the breakdown, the ebb and flow and the theatrics that have endeared him since 2009.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair