NBA 2K21: Charles Barkley Explains Why He Isn't In the Game

NBA legend Charles Barkley explained why he isn’t in the NBA 2K series as a commentator. In a Q+A for a sports broadcasting camp, Nick’s Trick Shots asked the TNT personality why he chooses to be on the sidelines for the wildly popular sports simulation game. Ernie Johnson, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, and the gregarious Shaquille O’Neal all lend their likenesses to 2K. But, the immersion falls a little bit short when the entire NBA on TNT crew isn’t there to share in the jokes and banter. Barkley says that he’s trying to look out for the older players that might not have been as fortunate as the current crop of performers. The Suns Hall-of-Famer wants the company to pay the retired NBA players instead of offering him the money. As of now, that arrangement hasn’t materialized but 2K keeps calling hoping that the outspoken studio analyst will change his mind.

“I get asked this a lot. They pay those guys to do it and they make 300 million dollars a year. An they pay the guys chump change. I’m like, ‘No, I’m not doing that,’ I said this is what I’ll do, because just giving me some money doesn’t help anybody.”

“I said give the old retired players a million dollars and I’ll be in the video game. They’re like, well, we’re gonna pay you the same thing we pay others. I said, ‘I’m not like the others.’ I see these other guys I only know why they are taking that money. Y’all make 300 million dollars a year. Y’all are not helping the old retired players. I’m talking about guys older than me too just for the record. So, they piss me off every year they call me, every year. They call me and say, ‘Have you changed your mind?” I said, ‘Why in the world you think I’m gonna change my mind?’ I told you, give a million dollars a year. Y’all can have the tax write off, it doesn’t even have to come from me. I said give the retired players a million dollars a year. I’m not talking about retired players like me.”

“There’s the misconception out there that everybody’s been making a gazillion dollars our whole life. There’s players older than me who didn’t make any money. Those guys probably need the money and that’s why I’m not in the video game.”

NBA 2K21 is out on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. With PS5, and Xbox Series X versions coming at launch. Below, check out the official pitch for the game, courtesy of 2K Games and Visual Concepts:

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"NBA 2K21 is the latest title in the world-renowned, best-selling NBA 2K series, delivering an industry-leading sports video game experience. With extensive improvements upon its best-in-class graphics and gameplay, competitive and community online features, and deep, varied game modes, NBA 2K21 offers one-of-a-kind immersion into all facets of NBA basketball and culture - where Everything is Game."

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