If Kobe Bryant Retires He Could Take Barkley’s Job

While the world contemplates whether this is the last year for Lakers-great Kobe Bryant, one former basketball star might be hoping he continues to play. According to a report on SI.com, TNT might be looking at Bryant to replace Barkley if he doesn’t renew his contract.

Currently, Charles Barkley’s contract runs through the 2016 season. The former Phoenix Suns great has shown willingness to step away from sports broadcasting, and who better to take his place than the equally sarcastic and brutally honest Kobe Bryant. And let’s face it: Bryant has always been a great quote his entire NBA career. Imagine him breaking down game film with that same unfiltered stance he takes with reporters already.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne told SI.com that Kobe would be the “player version of Jeff Van Gundy.” He’s incredibly knowledgeable, smart, sarcastic, and able to detach himself from other players to the point that he would speak honestly and not leave anything unsaid. The “elephant-in-the-room,” however, is how Kobe would work alongside former teammate Shaquille O’Neil. Would the two be able to put their past beefs aside and coexist on TV? Possibly, but the thought is enticing enough to hope for some fireworks between the Bryant and Shaq and truly make the TNT pre-game show “must watch TV.”

While Kobe himself hasn’t discussed any future plans outside of basketball, it’s hard not to think of him involving himself somehow with the game that made him famous. Former players of his caliber have gone on to have successful business and broadcasting careers, such as Michael Jordan (Owner of the Charlotte Hornets), Mark Jackson (former Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors) and Magic Johnson (Lakers great, now part-owner of the L.A. Dodgers).

Bryant has admitted he’s mulled retirement already, as the Inquisitr has previously reported. If Kobe decides to leave the Lakers, it could free up a lot of cap space. While nothing has been set in stone or even announced, you have to wonder if the Lakers would be happy to see their star player leave on his own accord. By leaving, Kobe would free up the $25 million they would owe him next season and be able to target some of the NBA’s up and coming stars, according to a report by the L.A. Times.

While Kobe Bryant hasn’t stated that he even is retiring after this year, it’s fascinating to watch this unfold. We’ll just have to wait and see what move Kobe makes this offseason. Do you think Bryant would make a good broadcaster, good enough to replace Chuck? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image courtesy of AP/John Bazemore via ESPN]